Trump’s Lawyers Threatened to Blow Up the Impeachment Trial. Watch Adam Schiff’s Response.

Senate Television/AP

In the second week of the Senate’s impeachment trial, John Bolton, the president’s former national security adviser, has dominated much of the discourse—both in and out of the Senate chambers. The House impeachment managers, led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), want to hear his testimony, especially in the wake of a bombshell New York Times report that Bolton wrote in a draft of his forthcoming book that Trump had linked military aid to Ukraine to his efforts to pressure that country to investigate the Bidens.
But Donald Trump’s lawyers and GOP senators are doing whatever they can to prevent Bolton from testifying, arguing that if he does testify, they will have to call Hunter Biden to appear. And Joe Biden. And the whistleblower. And even Schiff himself. In other words, Trump’s legal team is warning, the trial will stretch on seemingly forever. But in a striking moment on Wednesday night, Schiff blew that argument out of the water: 

“I would like Mr Sekulow to testify about his contacts with Mr Parnas … but we’re not here to indulge in fantasy or distraction. We’re here to talk about people with pertinent and probative evidence” — Adam Schiff is really good at this
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 30, 2020

Schiff made the case that demands for witness like the whistleblower, or even Trump himself, amount to “fantasy,” while a material witness like Bolton—who wants to testify—should be in the realm of reality. And Schiff suggested that Chief Justice John Roberts would likely agree with him. “We’re here to talk about people with pertinent and probative evidence,” Schiff said. “I trust the man behind me, sitting way up, who I can’t see right now. I trust him to make decisions whether a witness is material or not.”