Portman Statement on Witnesses in Senate Impeachment Trial

January 31, 2020 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) today issued the following statement on the issue of witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial: 

“I do not believe that additional witnesses are needed.  I have said consistently for the past four months, since the Zelensky transcript was first released, that I believe that some of the president’s actions in this case – including asking a foreign country to investigate a potential political opponent and the delay of aid to Ukraine – were wrong and inappropriate.  But I do not believe that the president’s actions rise to the level of removing a duly-elected president from office and taking him off the ballot in the middle of an election. 

“I also believe that processing additional witnesses will take weeks if not months, and it’s time for the House and Senate to get back to addressing the issues the American people are most concerned about – lowering prescription drug costs, rebuilding our roads and bridges, and strengthening our economy.   

“House Democrats sent the Senate a flawed case built on what respected law professor Jonathan Turley calls ‘the shortest proceeding, with the thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president.’  Instead of using the tools available to compel the Administration to produce documents and witnesses, the House followed a self-imposed and entirely political deadline for voting on these articles of impeachment by Christmas, only to inexplicably stall for 28 days – time they could have used to subpoena witnesses and resolve privilege claims.  

“The House did not even bother to subpoena and resolve privilege claims of key witnesses they now want the Senate to subpoena for them. I believe it sets a dangerous precedent – all but guaranteeing a proliferation of highly partisan, poorly investigated impeachments in the future – if we allow the House of Representatives to force the Senate to compel witness testimony that they never secured for themselves.  

Our country is already too deeply divided and we should be working to heal wounds, not create new ones. It is better to let the people decide. Early voting has already begun in some states in the presidential primaries.  The American people will have the opportunity to have their say at the ballot box.”