Roe hopes Senate will be 'fair' to the president

Robert Houk • Jan 16, 2020 at 6:44 PM

U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-1st District, said Thursday he expects the U.S. Senate will be “fair to everybody” and quick in its handling of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

“I hope it will be a more open process than the House, which was a completely closed process,” the Johnson City lawmaker told reporters.

Senators are scheduled to begin their impeachment work next week.

“What I hear from home, and I’m there every weekend, is people don’t understand why it’s gotten to this,” Roe said of the pending impeachment trial.

The congressman believes a Senate trial could take three to four weeks to complete. He also expects Trump “will be exonerated, and we can move on.”

If witnesses are called, Roe said it could “open the door” to a long list of possible people to testify, including the whistleblower whose complaint set off the impeachment investigation, as well as former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

“You go down a rabbit hole once you get started,” he said.

U.S. Sen Lamar Alexander, Tennessee’s senior member in the Senate, said Wednesday he was open to hearing witnesses in the impeachment trial. The Republican also told reporters he would vote against any motion to simply dismiss the case.

“I think we should hear the case. We have a constitutional duty to do that,” Alexander, who is retiring next year, said in a statement. “That means to me, number one, hear the arguments. Number two, to ask our questions. Number three, to be guaranteed the right to vote on whether we need additional evidence following hearing the case.”

He said that evidence “could be witnesses, it could be documents.”

Meanwhile, Alexander’s junior Republican colleague from Tennessee has called on four Democrats in the Senate, who are seeking their party’s nomination for president, to recuse themselves.

U.S. Sen Marsha Blackburn, who was backed by Trump in her 2018 election campaign, issued a statement saying Sens. Michael Bennet, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren “cannot sit in judgment of the very president they seek to replace. To participate in this trial would be a failure of the oath they took to be an ‘impartial justice,’ according to the Constitution and laws.”

She added that “their presidential ambitions prohibit their ability to view this trial through an objective lens.” 

Roe said Thursday the Senate impeachment trial comes at an “inconvenient time” for Sanders and Warren, with the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary coming up.

“So, it’s a political problem for them,” Roe said.

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