GOP senator: ‘Hopefully’ Trump will learn lessons from impeachment

Republican Sen. Mike Braun on Sunday said he hopes the impeachment process will “be instructive” for President Donald Trump’s conduct if he’s acquitted by the Senate.

In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Braun was grilled by host Chuck Todd on how Trump will react to beating articles of impeachment, which is seen as a near certainty in a Republican-controlled Senate.

"This president, as you know, he's going to take acquittal and think, 'I can keep doing this,'" Todd said.

"No, I don't think that," Braun replied. "Hopefully it'll be instructive."

"I think he'll put two and two together," the Indiana Republican added. "In this case, he was taken to the carpet."

Trump’s impeachment trial on charges that he abused of power by withholding military aid from Ukraine to pressure its government to investigate his political rivals and obstructed Congress could wind down as soon as this week should the Senate rebuffs Democratic calls for new witnesses, which would require at least four Republicans to break ranks.

Braun added that House Democratic impeachment managers, who ended their presentation Friday, “put together a broad, comprehensive case” but criticized it as “circumstantial in nature.”

Asked if he thinks Trump regrets what he did, Braun answered: "I think he’ll be instructed by what has occurred here and certainly any individual would want to avoid whatever might need to be modified to go through this again because the threat has already been out there that we might find something else to impeach on, which I think is a mistake because I think we need to get back to what most Americans are interested in: the agenda.”

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‘We did’ give in to Trump stonewalling, House impeachment manager says

House Democrats surrendered to President Donald Trump’s efforts to block witnesses from testifying in their impeachment probe, one of the House managers of the trial said Sunday.

In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) was pressed by host Jake Tapper on her comments during the trial imploring senators not to “surrender to the president’s stonewalling,” given that the House did not pursue court cases further to force witness testimony.

“I guess, in that sense, we did, because, if we had waited for three or four years, the election would be over. The issue would be almost moot,” Lofgren conceded.

But Lofgren argued that lawmakers also “realized we had the evidence we were going to get, and that it was sufficient to prove our case” that Trump abused his office by holding up military aide for Ukraine.

“If he is committing a high crime and misdemeanor now, and continuing to do it, we need to act,” she added.

House Democrats, led by Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), finished outlining their case before the Senate on Friday. Trump’s legal team began its defense Saturday and will continue Monday.

The trial could end as early as this week if senators vote down calling additional witnesses as Democrats have pressed for. At least four Republicans would need to break with their party for a vote to call witnesses to succeed, with the most likely considered to be Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Asked by Tapper whether a fourth Republican has been identified who could support new witnesses, Lofgren said she didn’t know.

“As I speak and as I sit there, I find myself looking at the senators, a lot of them I served with ... when they were in the House, and wondering what’s going through their minds as they hear this pretty overwhelming evidence from the House,” Lofgren said.

“I would hope that they would, because this is a very serious case. It’s about whether the president is posing a threat to the United States. It’s the impeachment clause of the Constitution. And I think the country wants a complete picture,” she added. “The senators have an opportunity to get it. And I think they would be doing themselves a favor, as well as the country of favor, to get that job done.”

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Schiff ripped Trump’s defense team as “deathly afraid” of new witness testimony and warned there would be “no exoneration” for Trump in a trial without it.

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Schiff: Trump lawyers ‘deathly afraid’ of impeachment witnesses

The leader of the House impeachment case said Sunday that President Donald Trump’s defense team is “deathly afraid” of possible testimony from key witnesses in a Senate trial.

“I think they’re deathly afraid of what witnesses will have to say and so their whole strategy has been deprive the public of a fair trial,” House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “They don’t frame it that way, but that’s in essence it.”

Democrats have argued that officials with potential firsthand knowledge of Trump’s decision to hold up military aid to Ukraine should testify in the trial. Those possible witnesses include acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton.

House Democrats on Friday wrapped up their case against Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress over efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals. Trump’s defense kicked off Saturday, with lawyers attempting to cast doubt on those allegations, and it will continue Monday. The Senate could take final votes on the charges as early as this week if motions to call witnesses fail.

Schiff dinged the Trump defense team, saying his lawyers “don’t really contest the president’s scheme.”

“They don’t say that there was no evidence that he was conditioning the aid. They just try to make the case that you don’t need a fair trial here, you can make these go away,” the California Democrat said.

“But look — if they’re successful in depriving the country of a fair trial, there is no exoneration,” he added. “There is no exoneration.”

But at least four Senate Republicans must join with Democrats in a vote for additional witnesses to be called.

Schiff also criticized the possibility of “witness reciprocity,” in which House Democrats and Trump’s defense would be able to pair witnesses called to testify.

“I think the president has the right to call relevant witnesses, just as we do, in his defense,” Schiff said. “He doesn’t have the right to call irrelevant witnesses or witnesses who aren’t fact witnesses.”

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