HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania’s Republican U.S. Sen Pat Toomey said Thursday the Senate should conduct a fair impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, but he gave no indication of whether he would support calling witnesses.
Toomey also has not said how he will vote on the two articles of impeachment sent over by the House. In a brief statement, Toomey said the impeachment of any president is an extraordinary event and that he takes his role in the Senate process very seriously.
“The Senate should conduct a fair trial consistent with past precedent,” Toomey said. “We will allow House managers to make their case, the president’s lawyers to make their defense and senators to pose questions. At the conclusion of these presentations, the Senate can then decide what, if any, further steps are necessary.”
Democrats are requesting that the trial include new witnesses and documents not available for the House impeachment proceedings.
A decision to call witnesses will take 51 votes in the Senate, which Republicans control 53-47.
Toomey has previously said he didn’t think Trump committed an impeachable offense when he pushed Ukraine’s president in a July telephone conversation to “look into” Democratic rival Joe Biden. The conversation was “inappropriate,” he said, but he maintained that a rough transcript of the call revealed no quid pro quo.
Toomey has never been among Trump’s biggest supporters. He did not campaign with Trump in the 2016 election, and he only announced that he would vote for Trump after he had cast his ballot with barely an hour to go before polls closed in the 2016 election.
Toomey also has not appeared at Trump’s rallies in Pennsylvania since then, although a campaign spokesman said Thursday that Toomey plans to actively campaign for Trump’s re-election in 2020.
Toomey is in his second six-year term, which runs through 2022.
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