'I don't believe that it rises to the standard of an impeachable offense,': Shelby

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., is interviewed on "This Week."
5:29 | 01/19/20

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Transcript for 'I don't believe that it rises to the standard of an impeachable offense,': Shelby
I believe that we shouldn't be afraid of any witness. What we're trying to do is arrive at the truth here, and the question is will the witnesses after they're deposed add anything we don't already have? Right. If they're going to add something substantive, something substantial, something explosive, that's one thing, but if they're not going to add to what already we have, that's another question. There was senator Richard Shelby back during Clinton's senate impeachment trial. The Republican senator from Alabama joins us this morning as well. Senator Shelby, thank you for joining us. Just showed that clip from president Clinton's impeachment trial. Democrats calling for several witnesses who weren't heard during the house impeachment. Does that mean you support witnesses in this trial? We don't know that yet. We have a two-faced deal here like we did under the Clinton trial. First, we're going to hear from the managers and arguments on both sides and see what kind of case they have, and what we feel about it as senators who will be sitting is you know, George, kind of like jurors and we were sworn the other day to follow the facts and render a decision accordingly and so forth. That's what I intend to do. I have not pre-judged anything. I have my own thoughts about things at this point, but we haven't heard any of the summaries, any of the arguments. I have kept up with as much as I could can a lot of anecdotal stuff that has gone on in the house, and what's been said on TV and written, but at the end of the day, starting Tuesday we're going to start the trial and that's what we've got to focus on. The trial ought to be fair. I do have some observations though at this point. They're early and they're not conclusive. One, it looks to me at this juncture that the house has got a weak hand. They're wanting us in the senate to open the case up and to try everything, retry their stuff. We don't know what's going to come forth this week. At that point as you know in the Clinton trial, you voted to consider three witnesses who were not considered by the house either, and -- I did. What you are seeing here are witnesses like John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney, the white house chief of staff. Doesn't that meet the test of new and relevant that you established in the Clinton trial? Not what we did 21 years, it doesn't meet the test what we do this week and what we hear, and the facts we hear will probably meet the test and determine whether we get additional witnesses. That will help us make a relevant and a fair decision. Isn't John Bolton relevant to this case? Well, he could be. He might be. Will he add anything? I don't know yet, but I would be open to listening to the arguments and I think that's the only way to be fair to both sides in this case. I think the house rushed to judgment on this. They could have pursued this a lot longer, but they made a political decision, and I think they've got problems now, and they want us to unwind their problems. Every single impeachment trial that's gone to conclusion has heard from witnesses. What would be the reason to not hear from witnesses in this trial? Well, if the case looks so flimsy, and some people say, if it's nothing to it, it doesn't rise to impeachable offense, if like a court of law, the course disposes of it. We don't know that yet. We should listen to the arguments, to the summation of the witnesses, what they will be going into, and go from there. That's what we did with Clinton and we made the second decision to subpoena some witnesses. Do you agree with the position of professor Dershowitz that even all the facts and allegations and evidence presented by the house are accepted as fact, it wouldn't be an impeachable offense? Well, it looks to me that way at this point, but I'm still waiting to hear the arguments. I haven't focused on it. Professor Dershowitz is an esteemed scholar of constitutional law, and he's followed this, and he's outspoken, and a lot of people follow him, and we have a lot of respect for a lot of his opinions, but ultimately we will make that decision in the senate. Setting aside whether you think it's an impeachable offense, do you think it was proper for the president to solicit foreign interference in our election? I don't know that has actually been proven. That's all in dispute of what happened, whether the Russians were involved in it, whether the Ukrainians were involved in it, who was involved in it and to what extent, but I have never seen anything where trump actually was involved in it. I asked if it was okay to solicit. We have seen the president in public ask the Ukrainians and the Chinese to get involved. Well, those are just statements politically. They make them all the time. So it's okay? I didn't say it's okay. I said people make them. People do things. Things happen. Well, this is the president of the United States. Well, it's still the president of the United States is human and he's going to make mistakes of judgment and everything else. They have historically, both parties, both from the beginning of my republic. So you say it was a mistake, but not necessarily impeachable? Well, I have seen -- I don't believe like professor Dershowitz at this point, that it rises to the standard of an impeachable offense, but I still think we should wait and see what comes out in the trial itself. Senator Shelby, thank you for your time this morning. Thank you, George.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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