President Trump’s impeachment trial has been long, tedious and confusing. To help their constituents sort through the massive amounts of information, New Jersey’s Sens. Robert Menendez and Cory Booker have taken to Facebook and YouTube to explain the machinations of the televised partisan Senate contest.
As the impeachment managers sparred on the Senate floor Wednesday about whether testimony from former National Security Adviser John Bolton was essential, the Democratic senators spent some time explaining why witnesses should testify. Republican senators have questioned both the need to have witnesses and Bolton’s credibility, and have pushed for the hearing to be finished by the end of the week, and before the State of the Union on Tuesday.
“You cannot have a trial without witnesses,” Booker says in the nearly 18 minute YouTube video. “There have been 15 impeachment trials in the history of our country - presidents, but mostly judges. Every single one had numerous witnesses.”
Surprisingly, they also had praise for unnamed Republicans who, they said, confessed in private to wanting witnesses. They also praised most Republicans for being attentive during the proceedings, though Menendez said eight or nine Republican senators walk in and out of the chamber.
“If I was the plaintiff, because I was terribly injured or there was a malpractice suit... I would want the jury sitting there listening to the specific facts,” Menendez said.
While the trial was leading to “long days, long hours” for the two men, they wanted their constituents to know that their time wasn’t consumed by impeachment, that they were still working hard on New Jersey’s issues. They both said they attended an early morning meeting about the coronavirus and had successfully convinced the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to screen travelers at Newark Liberty International Airport.
“We’re not allowing the whole nation to be at a standstill,” Menendez said.