Arizona senators send questions in impeachment trial

Sinema’s views still remain a mystery, but she asked her first question 12 hours into the trial’s question-and-answer phase

Chief Justice John Roberts reads a question from a senator during the impeachment trial of President Trump Wednesday./ Getty Images

By Yvonne Wingett Sanchez and Christal Hayes | Arizona Republic

For weeks, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has rebuffed questions about her views on the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, and her aides have refused to speculate about her thinking. 

The Democratic senator’s views still remain a mystery, but she asked her first question 12 hours into the trial’s question-and-answer phase as Wednesday’s proceedings barreled to a close.

She directed her lone question to Trump’s legal team on a day on which senators largely sought answers from their party’s own representatives. 

Sinema, a centrist Democrat from Arizona, asked why the administration did not notify Ukraine or Congress of its decision to withhold $391 million of congressionally approved security assistance, and the steps officials there needed to take to get the aid.

Her question noted prior instances in which the U.S. withheld money to other countries, saying in those cases the receiving nations knew that the money was being withheld as a way to change behavior and further publicly stated American policy.

She wanted to know why the Trump administration departed from its previous practice of notifying countries. 


Sen. Martha McSally asked questions early in the impeachment trial. 

By Yvonne Wingett Sanchez | Arizona Republic

She joined her Republican colleagues to pose two questions to the president’s defense on Wednesday’s proceedings. Before they began, a McSally spokeswoman did not respond to a request about any questions McSally had.

McSally asked her first question with a group of fellow Republicans. That question centered on whether House managers had met an evidentiary burden in the Senate to support removal. 

Patrick Philbin, deputy counsel to the president, said the House used a standard of whether there was “clear and convincing evidence in the view of the members voting on it, that there was some impeachable offense,” a standard he said was “definitely” lower than the standard that had to be met in the Senate trial.


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