DENVER (CBS4) – President Trump’s impeachment trial gets underway Tuesday. Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner says he will not prejudge the case despite pressure from Democrats and Republicans.
All senators took an oath to remain impartial, but many have already weighed in on the President’s guilt or innocence. Gardner says he wants to hear from both sides first.
“Everybody wants to know exactly where we are, and how I’m going to vote, and how this is going to happen, but we have a trial.”
Gardner is facing maybe the toughest re-election in the country and needs Trump to win the Republican vote.
Meanwhile, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet is running to be the Democratic nominee for President. He says he thinks Trump is guilty based on all the evidence he’s heard so far, but he’s keeping an open mind.
“This is the opportunity for him to present witnesses that would exonerate him if such witnesses exist, and I will certainly listen to their testimony.”
Democrats need four Republicans to vote with them to force witness testimony. Bennet says he is optimistic they will get the votes.
“It seems crazy to conduct something called a trial that doesn’t have any witnesses or evidence.”
Gardner says he’s considering both evidence and precedence before deciding whether he needs to hear from more witnesses.
“I’m not going to participate in trial by Twitter, but what I am going to do is study the depositions of witnesses that were taken during the impeachment in the House. I’m going to study what happened in Andrew Johnston’s hearing and Bill Clinton’s trial.”
Regardless of the verdict, Gardner and Bennet say what matters is that it’s grounded in the rule of law.
“If our commitment to that falls apart, our checks and balances fall apart, and our democracy is at risk,” said Bennet.
Gardner says he’s worried about the impact the trial has had on the entire country.
“That’s why this impartiality is so important. That’s why getting this right and the fairness of this trial is so important.”
Both senators say they are committed to fairness. Neither of them will be able to ask questions directly during the trial, but they will be able to submit written questions.