Sen. Lankford discusses ongoing impeachment trial in Senate

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WASHINGTON (KFOR) - As House impeachment managers wrap up their opening arguments, an Oklahoma senator is speaking about the impeachment process so far.

Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives exercised its constitutional right to charge Trump with the following charges:

  • Abuse of power for his effort to withhold taxpayer money from Ukraine and get that country to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden;
  • Obstruction of Congress for his refusal to cooperate with the oversight investigation.

The full House of Representatives voted on the charges. The abuse of power article passed 230-197, while the obstruction of Congress article passed 229-198.

After being approved by the House of Representatives, the articles for impeachment head to the Senate for a vote.

One of the biggest issues was whether or not the Senate would call witnesses for its portion of the trial. One of the main witnesses lawmakers on both sides of the aisle would be looking to hear from would-be former National Security Adviser John Bolton.

Previously, Bolton indicated that he would fight a subpoena if he was called to testify in front of the House of Representatives. However, he said he would testify in the Senate. At that point, President Trump said he would invoke executive privilege to block that kind of testimony from occurring.

On Friday, Sen. James Lankford stopped by to speak with reporters and answer questions about his thoughts on the proceedings.

"So we're in day two of arguments, day three of the trial total and we've really heard the same thing over and over and over again. There is a very narrow list of things and videos and texts and things that the House managers keep bringing up over and over again, saying, 'This is our overwhelming evidence that we used to be able to impeach the president.' On top of that, they're saying, 'We want you to go pursue more witnesses or else it's not fair if you don't pursue these witnesses.' The hard part about this is in a typical trial situation, the House would have done all of these witnesses and there was a lot of arguing against the House that they weren't fair in bringing all these witnesses and if they have this challenge to be able to bring all these witnesses, they should have brought those. So it looks like to me, at this point, the House has a narrow list of things they're bringing to try and convict the president on it but they're actually trying to be able to stretch the Senate trial out as long as they possibly can. Because there's no difference in the timing to be able to go to court to get all of these individuals on a testimony any different than what the House would do. So it has the appearance that the House wanted to be able to have a fast trial and then to be able to force the Senate to have a slow, long trial all the way through the election season," Lankford said.

"It's interesting the House has said over and over again, 'We need more witnesses,' but then they're showing all these videoes of all these witnesses that they already have. So there are already a lot of witnesses that are in place that the House has gone through. They're just wanting more witnesses, really to be able to slow the trial down as much as they possibly can. Because to be able to call these witnesses they could have called would have been the exact same time period as for us to be able to call those folks but it has the appearance of we got enough to be able to impeach the president but then we want to be able to drag this whole process out in the days ahead. And so for us, at this point, we have a responsibility to be able to hear the facts they're bringing to us, the witnesses that they're bringing to us, and then to be able to go through that initial evidence"

Lankford also said that they hope to hear more from President Trump's lawyers about his side of the story.


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