Senate GOP has a huge problem: 2 in 3 Republicans want Trump's top aides to testify
Republican voters are living in such a Fox News fantasy land that they clearly believe hearing from Donald Trump's top aides will help prove his innocence. So even as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is working overtime to kill Democratic calls for actual witnesses at the Senate impeachment trial, 64% of GOP voters say Trump should let his top advisers testify in the proceeding, according to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll. Once again, 79% of Democrats and 72% of independents agree with them.
But perhaps an even bigger problem for Republicans is that more than six in 10 Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike believe Trump will get a "fair trial" in the Senate. The idea that there's some expectation of the GOP-led Senate providing fairness in this process is already a striking departure from the reality of what McConnell and his colleagues are offering. Not only is McConnell trying to block any witness testimony, he's already assured the public that there's "no chance" Senate Republicans will convict Trump.
And yet, the notion that the Republican-led Senate would run a "fair trial" was a rare point of agreement across party lines in the poll, with 62% of Democrats, 61% of Republicans, and 64% Independents endorsing the prospect. Additionally, voters will likely use their view of House Democrats' handling of impeachment as a gauge for how well Senate Republicans' take on the task in the upper chamber. That's also not great news for Senate Republicans since House Democrats fared pretty well, with 55% deeming the House proceedings fair while just 38% said they weren't.
So the incessant rants from Trump and his Republican defenders about House Democrats' unfair process appears to have persuaded Trump cultists almost exclusively. That limited reach may be fine in the House, but Senate Republicans will need to convince at least some independents that they offered a scintilla of fairness during the Senate trial and, frankly, expectations are a bit high for a caucus that has been defined by its fundamental assaults on fairness, such as blocking Democratic Supreme Court nominees from consideration.
On Tuesday, Senate Democrats held a press conference to let voters know how badly Republicans are already failing this historic moment. "The president has something to hide and Republican senators—too many of them—are intent in helping him hide it," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer charged of McConnell's pledge to block witness testimony. "It is clear that Sen. McConnell wants to use the Senate to help participate in a cover-up."
Good luck, Republicans.