WASHINGTON — While the House impeachment hearings have been capturing all the headlines, lawmakers on the other side of the Capitol are patiently waiting for the process to make its way to the U.S. Senate.
- 5 days, 7 public hearings, 12 witnesses
- Believed the House is preparing to bring articles of impeachment
- If the president is impeached, the Senate would hold a trial
“The past few weeks, they have been describing the process to us,” said Sen. Rick Scott, R-Florida, a freshman U.S. senator.
Both of Florida’s senators are beginning to prepare for a likely Senate trial, where ultimately they will serve as jurors.
“We have to be here six days a week, 8-10 hours a day. Listening to all of this,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, in an interview with Spectrum News.
After two weeks of public testimony in the House, both Florida senators do not believe the president’s conduct is impeachable.
“The call is public, anyone can look at that. They can decided on their own,” Scott explained, referring to the White House memo regarding the president's July phone call with Ukraine's president, which launched the impeachment investigation.
"I’m very comfortable. There was no quid-pro-quo. There’s no high crimes and misdemeanors with regard to that call,” he added.
While Rubio has slightly a different take on the call at the heart of the inquiry, he doesn’t believe House Democrats have made a firm enough case to remove President Trump from office.
“I’ve said early on I don’t like the way the phone call was made. I don’t agree with the way it was done, disagreeing about how someone does their job or even what their goals are — it’s very different from arguing they should be removed from office,” he said.
After five days of seven public hearings in which 12 witnesses testified, both senators admit it has been a challenge to follow.
“We have a full schedule, so I can’t ask my staff to just hold my schedule open to sit and watch it,” Rubio explained.
“What do you say though, that part of your job is the oversight and this is a pretty complex issue. The amount of witnesses, the amount of testimony. Hundreds of pages of transcripts. Are you going to be able to catch up in that amount of time?” asked Spectrum News reporter Samantha-Jo Roth.
“That’s what the trial is going to be about. That’s why we have it,” Rubio responded.
“As far as oversight is concerned, there’s an oversight role to play over the State Department and the conduct of foreign policy. We’ll see how that plays out over there and when it comes over to us, we will deal with it,” he added.
If the House decides to move forward with articles of impeachment, the timeline for the trial in the U.S. Senate is still unclear.