Two Wyoming Republicans Are Playing A Role In The Impeachment Debate

Jan 10, 2020

Wyoming senior Senator Mike Enzi is retiring after seeing a lot in Washington, including two of the only three formal impeachments of a sitting president this nation's ever witnessed. Enzi doesn't like talking about impeachment though - especially since he'll soon be a juror in the formal trial of President Donald Trump.

"I take it so seriously that I'm not commenting on it," Enzi said.

Even if Enzi is mum. His two Wyoming coworkers in Washington aren't nearly as circumspect - they've got Trump's back, seemingly no matter what. Senator John Barrasso endorsed a bill to toss out the articles of impeachment that the House approved if Speaker Nancy Pelosi hadn't sent them over about a month ago. Barrasso denies he wants to overhaul Senate rules for partisan gains.

"This has become such a politicized and polarizing exercise that it seems that what Nancy Pelosi is doing now is just completely playing politics with it - not really looking to get to an answer, but to make a political point," Barrasso said.

Barrasso's with his fellow GOP leaders in not wanting the president's own handpicked former national-security adviser John Bolton to testify before the Senate. That's unsettling to senior lawmakers, like Maryland Senator Ben Cardin - a Democrat respected on both sides of the aisle.

"To me, it's common sense that you would want to hear from those who have the direct information about the president's involvements in the allegations in the articles of impeachment. So to me, that's common sense and to see the documents," Cardin said.

For Barrasso, instead of demanding the impeachment trial the Constitution envisions, he doesn't want a full trial.

"What has happened is the House rushed this. They say 'expedited' - the word is rushed it. They did a sloppy job. And now they're asking for the Senate to do things that they had every right to do, but in their rush to impeach, they ignored what would be normal due process and a fair process and now they have second thoughts. So they're getting cold feet about what they've done," Barrasso said.

Hear that? For Barrasso, even if Bolton held a smoking gun, he wouldn't want to hear him testify.

What Barrasso, GOP leaders and the powerful conservative media machine, seem to have forgotten is that the impeachment trial hasn't even begun yet: The House voted for it yes, but now the Constitution says it's the time for the trial in the Senate. That's why even center of the road Democrats, like Delaware Senator Chris Coons, want to hear from people who may - or may not - have a lot to add to this debate.

"I'm eager to have a fair trial that has witnesses and evidence to begin. I think lots of folks in our country think it's time to begin this trial, but I respect the Speaker's posture of, you know, we shouldn't start a trial without an agreement around witnesses and evidence," Coons said.

It's a different world for Wyoming Republicans.

"They impeached him with no direct evidence," Cheney said.

That's c who seems to oppose Nancy Pelosi even when she sneezes.

"We have this called the Constitution and I think that the Speaker of the House ought to acquaint herself with it and that we'd all be a lot better off," Cheney said.

Cheney may have a point though. Even progressive Connecticut Democrat Chris Murphy - along with others - is now calling for Pelosi and her House cohorts to let Senate Democrats take over this process.

"My belief is that the leverage over Republicans exists in the votes we'll take inside the trial, so I just think that that's where, you know, our greatest leverage exists is, is inside the trial," Murphy said.

Still, senior senators like Mike Enzi are staying mum ahead of the trial of this decade, if not this century.

"I don't want to be looking at innuendos and extracurricular stuff. But there's so much stuff out there that I don't think I could read it all anyway. But I also don't think it's my responsibility to look at it until there's something actually happening," Enzi said.