Sen. Cory Gardner: No Need For Further Impeachment Witnesses

J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., strides to the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020.

Updated 5:47 p.m.

As the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump moves into its questioning phase, Republican Sen. Cory Gardner has made it clear he will not support calling new witnesses.

"I do not believe we need to hear from an 18th witness," Gardner said in a statement. "I have approached every aspect of this grave constitutional duty with the respect and attention required by law, and have reached this decision after carefully weighing the House managers and defense arguments and closely reviewing the evidence from the House, which included well over 100 hours of testimony from 17 witnesses."

Gardner's statement did not provide any further reasoning for why he reached that conclusion.

If the Republican senator had any qualms about his decision, he didn’t show it. Gardner wore his usual smile as he walked back to the Senate chamber after a break in the proceedings. When asked if he thought Coloradans would understand his decision for no additional witnesses. He replied the Senate has been having a trial for the last week and will continue the debate Wednesday. He added that senators heard from witnesses that testified in the House impeachment inquiry through testimony read or shown by Trump’s lawyers and the impeachment managers.

Until now, Gardner had refused to comment on the substance of the impeachment trial, citing his role as an impartial juror in the case.

His Democratic colleague, Sen. Michael Bennet, is a vocal supporter of hearing from additional witnesses.

“If we allow this to go forward without having documents and witnesses when we’ve got these serious allegations of the president’s abuse of power and the kind of corrupt stonewalling he’s engaged in,” Bennet said last week, “no future president will be held accountable.”

At least four Republicans would have to break ranks and join Democrats to allow new witnesses and evidence in the Senate trial. A spokesperson for the Gardner campaign confirmed Tuesday that during a closed-door GOP meeting, Gardner told his colleagues Democrats have weaponized the impeachment and that a longer trial will divide the country.