Inhofe, Lankford vote against calling witnesses
Oklahoma’s senators voted Friday against calling witnesses in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
“The House inquiry had 17 witnesses — there’s no need for more,” said Sen. Jim Inhofe, a Republican. “I agree with Alan Dershowitz — a liberal Democrat (and member of the White House defense team) — who explained so well that more witnesses won’t change the fact that President Trump did not commit a crime or an impeachable offense. If House Managers needed more witnesses for their case, they shouldn’t have rushed their process. Our job is to evaluate the record the House sends over. That record is complete.”
Inhofe said Democrats would claim the trial was unfair no matter how many witnesses were called. Inhofe and Lankford reiterated on Friday that they will vote to acquit Trump on both articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. That vote is scheduled for Wednesday.
Lankford said in an interview, “There’s an undercurrent in this to try to determine: What facts do we need to be able to make a decision based on what the House sent us? And how do we get those facts and get answers to those?
“And the second theme of: What of this is just drama and politics? And trying to be able to separate those things out from the beginning.”
Lankford said he kept a journal during the trial and jotted down questions raised in his mind about whether Trump had withheld military aid to Ukraine to force that country to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
Lankford said all of his questions were answered.
“There are a lot of things that are exceptionally explainable” about the circumstances surrounding the phone call Trump had with the Ukrainian president and the timelines regarding proposed meetings between the two men, Lankford said.
Lankford called earlier this week for senators to get access to the manuscript of a book written by former National Security Adviser John Bolton that reportedly bolsters the case there was a quid pro quo. Lankford also called for Bolton to address the media about his claims.
Lankford said Friday that the publisher of the book has not made it available and that it was “odd” that Bolton hadn’t spoken to the press.
Lankford said, “What does he really bring? Is it anything different than what we’ve already heard? We’ve heard both sides of this … . If he walks in and gives a different point of view on this, does that change anything else based on what we’re looking at and based on the actions that we saw with what else happened … how do you put that in context? And that’s the unknown.”
Inhofe said earlier this week that Bolton’s testimony could be influenced by the fact that Trump fired him. He reiterated that on Friday, suggesting that Bolton was “bitter.”
Inhofe said the impeachment of Trump was driven by the goal of damaging Trump’s reelection chances.
“The motivation of the House, with the help from the media, has been to bring this up, talk about impeachment, knowing all the time there was nobody who ever thought (Trump) would be removed from office,” Inhofe said.
House Democrats wanted to make the trial “last as long as possible and drag this as close to November as possible," Inhofe said.