"So you don't believe that a full trial, more witnesses, more documents giving us a sense of what was going on in the inside the White House, would have better served the cause of justice and accountability?" Stephanopoulos asked Coons.
Coons said he was impressed with the 57 votes that Democrats managed to get, the most bipartisan impeachment in the history of the country.
"They could have had 500 more witnesses, it wasn't going to change the outcome. Once Mitch McConnell made it clear he intended to acquit even despite the compelling evidence, what the House managers needed wasn't more witnesses or more evidence, what we all needed was more Republican courage," Coons said. "I, frankly, at that time did not think that spending months fighting over additional witnesses would have changed the outcome of this trial one bit."
Sen. Chris Coons defends decision to not have more witness testimony at Trump's impeachment trial: "What we needed was more Republican courage." pic.twitter.com/MdWwSivkNe— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 14, 2021
Senators need not have spent months fighting over additional witnesses. Even if Republicans had demanded a hundred or more to slow the process, Democrats could have balked. That's what control of the Senate means- or at least does when Republicans control it, as they did when Mitch McConnell decided at President Trump's first impeachment that there would be no witnesses.
Moreover, the rough consensus going into Saturday morning was that there would be five (though possibly even fewer) Republicans voting to convict Trump. Instead, there were seven, suggesting that Democratic senators could not be certain that with the personal, passionate and emotional testimony of witnesses there would have been an acquittal. (That's apart from any other reasons to call witnesses.)
However, that was Coons' explanation for the decision of Democrats to unfurl the white flag of surrender. Or at least it was on Sunday morning after he got his lines straight because on Saturday morning
Frustrations rose among Senate Democrats. One Democrat familiar with the internal discussions said “it was clear the managers had no plan” and “didn’t know what their next step was.”
Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), a close ally of President Biden’s, visited the managers’ room off the Senate floor, according to a House aide. He told the managers any delay would cost Republican votes to convict — and potentially Democratic votes, too.
“The jury is ready to vote,” he told them. “People want to get home for Valentine’s Day.”
The Senate could have put off trial-related work till Tuesday, especially because Valentine's Day, 2021 is a Sunday, a fortuitous fact which seems to have escaped Coon's attention.
Valentine's Day is a swell day for an elite group- a mere 100 individuals entrusted with the work of governing the nation- to be home with their "significant others." So, too, would the wife of Howard Liebengood, of Jeffrey Smith, or of Brian Sicknick prefer to be with her husband on this occasion. However, due to the deaths of those law enforcement officers, closely related to the insurrection of January 6, they will be denied the privilege enjoyed by United States Senators.