U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono said she believes Senate Republicans want the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump to be finished by February’s planned State of the Union speech, but she maintains “the trial should take the length of time we need to get to the facts and have the witnesses come and testify.”
In a conference call Friday with Hawaii reporters, Hirono said from Washington, D.C., “There is enough evidence in my view for a conviction based on all the evidence that came out of the House’s inquiry. … I’m waiting for him (Trump) to mount a defense. So far he has not mounted a defense. He just said he’s done nothing wrong.”
“The American public recognizes that this trial should have witnesses and documents,” which the Trump administration has blocked, the Hawaii Democrat said.
Trump is “trying to rig this trial by not producing any documents and forbidding his people from testifying. The trial will go on despite his roadblocks.”
Trump was impeached by the House last month on charges of abuse of power and obstructing Congress, stemming from his pressure on Ukraine to investigate Democratic rivals as he was withholding security aid, and his efforts to block the ensuing congressional probe. His impeachment trial is set to start Tuesday.
If Republicans push to hear testimony from Hunter Biden, son of presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, about his business interests in Ukraine, “we will object,” Hirono said. “Hunter Biden has nothing to do with what the president did.”
“We are in somewhat uncharted territory with this impeachment,” she said. “He’s going to mount a defense, and I’ll listen to that defense.”
In a statement, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz noted the historical foundation for the impeachment process and said the Senate has “a solemn obligation to fully consider” the “grave allegations” that Trump abused his office to pressure a foreign government for personal political gain and obstructed the congressional investigation by withholding documents and testimony by administration officials.
“It is a responsibility I take seriously,” the Hawaii Democrat said.
“As we move forward with the Senate trial, I will continue to study the facts in the case, the legal and constitutional history of impeachment, and prepare to serve as a fair juror,” Schatz said.
Hirono told reporters that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s selection of the seven House managers who will serve as prosecutors in the impeachment trial is “really indicative of how the speaker views this trial and the importance of the diversity of who the House managers are,” Hirono said. “They all bring prosecutorial experience, judicial experience and legal experience.”
Asked by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser whether she expects recent revelations by Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, to be presented at the impeachment trial, Hirono said she anticipates Trump’s team will object to any evidence from Parnas.
But she said Parnas’ revelations in media interviews and documents released by the House this week corroborate “some of the other information and testimony the House already had.”
Hirono, Schatz and fellow senators were sworn in as jurors Thursday by Chief Justice John Roberts. Hirono called the proceeding “a very solemn and somber day” in which senators swore an oath to be impartial and then signed documents to the same effect.
“The solemnity of the proceeding and what we’re about to embark on was evident for everyone there,” she said.
Asked by the Star- Advertiser whether senators will follow their oath, Hirono said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell already has stated “he is not impartial.”
“This is a constitutional responsibility that we all recognize we have,” Hirono said. “Unfortunately, the Republicans have not gotten to the point where they would like this to be a fair trial.”