Speaking on the Senate floor, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, chastised the House for what he called a “half-baked” case and said it was not the job of the senators to fill out the factual record. He argued aggressively against the Senate calling new witnesses and evidence, as Democrats have demanded is necessary for a fair trial.
“If the existing case is strong, there is no need for the judge and the jury to reopen the investigation,” he said. “If the existing case is weak, House Democrats should not have impeached in the first place.”
From the White House, the president’s aides were sending a different message. Appearing on “Fox and Friends,” Hogan Gidley, a White House spokesman, said that the president and his team “don’t really care who comes forward, because the president’s done nothing wrong.”
“I hate to talk about hypotheticals, but let’s be clear: The president is not afraid of a fight,” Mr. Gidley said. “And if you or anyone within the sound of our voices have been falsely accused of a crime, with no proof, and no evidence, for more than three years, you’d want every witness to come forward too, and say this man did nothing wrong.”
Behind the scenes, though, Mr. Trump’s team were bracing for a potentially damaging period, inviting conservative activists to the White House to plot strategy for the coming impeachment fight.
Ms. Pelosi blasted both Mr. McConnell and Mr. Trump in her statement, accusing them of working together to cover up the facts the House had unearthed.
“The American people will fully understand the Senate’s move to begin the trial without witnesses and documents as a pure political cover-up,” she said. “Leader McConnell and the president are afraid of more facts coming to light.”