Tierney Sneed contributed to this report.
The rules of the impeachment trial are set.
As of this writing, no witnesses are set to be called. No additional documentary evidence will be considered by the world’s greatest deliberative body. And cross examination? Forget about it.
But one day in, Republican senators have a complaint: impeachment managers appointed by House Democrats are talking too much.
Sen. Roy Blunt complained of being told “the same story over and and over again.”
“At least one of our members is trying to keep track of how many times we saw the same exact video to make apparently another point,” Blunt said after the first day of arguments.
Sen. Blunt echoed other Republicans in complaining that nothing was new.
“Well, we’ve just come out of 6 hours of testimony so far today,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY). “I didn’t hear anything new at all.”
Indeed, Barrasso has not only lacked an opportunity to hear anything new in the case – he’s assisted in making sure that such an opportunity would never present itself.
Senate Republicans voted late into the night on Tuesday to prevent subpoenas for documents and testimony from being issued in the impeachment inquiry. Even amid widespread suggestions that there remain reams of still-hidden evidence, like that uncovered from the iPhone of Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, Republicans prevented the upper chamber from pushing for additional information.
“Since the House adopted these articles, evidence has continued to come to light related to the President’s corrupt scheme,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) on Wednesday night.
But it’s far easier to act as if the story being told by impeachment managers is old news, and that Democrats are simply beating a dead horse.
To Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), “one of the realities that’s already setting in is that just a few hours into [impeachment managers’] openings arguments, they’re already repeating the same points that they made for 13 hours yesterday.”
Cruz added that that in spite of what he referred to as the Democrats’ “fit,” “we’re gonna see an awful lot of repetition on the same points over and over again.”
He went on to suggest that it’s “critical” for Hunter Biden to testify in the case. Some senators, like Barrasso, have suggested that Biden’s testimony could be offered up as a “trade” for the testimony of former National Security Adviser John Bolton.
But it’s unclear if Democrats would be willing to embark on such an expedition.
Rather, it would seem, a trickle of information from criminal cases, Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, and reporting will continue to flesh out the missing pieces of the pressure campaign on Ukraine which led to the third impeachment in U.S. history.
Alternatively, you can look at it the way Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) did in comments to reporters on Capitol Hill about the impeachment managers’ opening arguments.
“What we’ve seen is a rehashing of yesterday’s charade,” he said.