Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., says she plans to honor an impartiality oath senators swore last week during the upcoming impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
Capito said last week, following the investiture of U.S. District Judge Frank Volk, who the senator nominated to the bench in May 2019, that she’ll be an impartial juror when the trial begins Tuesday.
“I was sworn in to deliver impartial justice. That is my job — my task, and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to listen to both sides, beginning on Tuesday, then we’ll have a chance to ask questions,” she said, “and then is when I’m going to make a decision, and then we’ll have the decision offered to us, whether we need more witnesses or whether we need more information to move forward.”
For just the third time in history, the U.S. Senate will vote on Articles of Impeachment against a president. The House voted last month to impeach Trump on two charges. One, that he abused his presidential power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democrat running for president, and using military aid as leverage to do so. The president is also charged with obstructing a Congressional investigation.
Trump denies both charges, calling the investigation a “witch hunt” and a “hoax.”
Capito said she wants both sides fairly represented during the Senate trial.
“I think the House [impeachment process] just got so politicized, that I hope in the Senate we have a fair proceeding ... that evaluates, objectively, as much as we can in our own minds, the different sides,” she said. “It’s going to be the first time the president’s going to have the chance to defend himself, through his lawyers, and so that’s what I’m hoping for.”
Capito said she will wait until the trial begins before recommending calling any additional witnesses. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said on CNN earlier this month it would be a “sham of a trial” if John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, did not testify.
“How do you expect us to have a trial? How do you expect me as a jurist to make a decision and be able to vote one way or the other if I don’t have witnesses and if I don’t have any evidence at all?” Manchin said. “I can’t see how anybody, Democrat or Republican, cannot vote to have John Bolton testify, whether a deposition, whatever, under oath so that we have the evidence first-hand. That’s what I want to see. If we don’t get that, then it’s a sham of a trial.”
In the days since the Senate was sworn in as jurors, the Government Accountability Office said the White House violated federal law by withholding security assistance to Ukraine, according to the Associated Press. Also, Lev Parnas — an indicted associate of Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani — turned over to prosecutors new documents linking the president to the shadow foreign policy being run by Giuliani.
The Senate will reconvene to begin the impeachment trial Tuesday at 1 p.m. Chief Justice John Roberts, who swore the senators in as jurors, will preside over the proceedings.