Ohio's Republican U.S. Senator Rob Portman released a statement Friday saying while he believes Trump's actions toward Ukraine were wrong and inappropriate, processing additional witnesses will take weeks if not months and it's time for Congress to get back to addressing the issues the American people are most concerned about.
“I do not believe that additional witnesses are needed," Portman said in the statement. "I have said consistently for the past four months, since the Zelensky transcript was first released, that I believe that some of the president’s actions in this case — including asking a foreign country to investigate a potential political opponent and the delay of aid to Ukraine — were wrong and inappropriate. But I do not believe that the president’s actions rise to the level of removing a duly-elected president from office and taking him off the ballot in the middle of an election."
Congress should return to normal business and move on to issues he believes are more important to Americans, he said.
"I also believe that processing additional witnesses will take weeks if not months, and it’s time for the House and Senate to get back to addressing the issues the American people are most concerned about — lowering prescription drug costs, rebuilding our roads and bridges, and strengthening our economy," Portman said.
Earlier Friday, Senate Democrats, including Ohio's Sherrod Brown, held a press conference calling the impeachment trial a sham.
"Every single trial ever in the United States Senate, I believe about a dozen and a half of them, for judges and for presidents, every single trial has had witnesses," Brown said. "This will be precedent-setting. It will be the first time that's ever happened."
Brown was also critical of Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
"We know that Mitch McConnell announced ahead of time what the verdict was going to be, that he was going to acquit this president," Brown said. "We also know that Mitch McConnell wants this trial over quickly with as little public attention as possible. We see it in the number of how reporters, how all of you are restricted from certain areas when my whole career in the Senate, you've been able to roam free and talk to any of us in the halls."
In his statement, Portman took aim at the proceedings in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.
“House Democrats sent the Senate a flawed case built on what respected law professor Jonathan Turley calls ‘the shortest proceeding, with the thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president,’" Portman said. "Instead of using the tools available to compel the Administration to produce documents and witnesses, the House followed a self-imposed and entirely political deadline for voting on these articles of impeachment by Christmas, only to inexplicably stall for 28 days in — time they could have used to subpoena witnesses and resolve privilege claims.
"The House did not even bother to subpoena and resolve privilege claims of key witnesses they now want the Senate to subpoena for them. I believe it sets a dangerous precedent – all but guaranteeing a proliferation of highly partisan, poorly investigated impeachments in the future – if we allow the House of Representatives to force the Senate to compel witness testimony that they never secured for themselves."
The American people will have the opportunity to have their say in November's presidential election, Portman said.