Democratic House managers should ask the chief justice to issue subpoenas for John Bolton and others.

By Neal K. Katyal, Joshua A. Geltzer and Mickey Edwards – NY Times, January 27, 2020

Neal Katyal, former Solicitor General of the United States, explains that the rules governing impeachment proceedings enable the trial managers (led by Adam Schiff) to request of the presiding judge (Chief Justice John Roberts) to call witnesses without a majority vote by the Senate to approve.

If Congressman Schiff asks the Chief Justice for John Bolton to testify as a witness, the Senate can only overrule the Chief Justice’s decision with a two-thirds vote of the Senate according to Impeachment rules drafted in 1868.

From Katyal, Geltzer, and Edward’s op-ed yesterday (January 27) in the NY Times:

“…it turns out they [the Senators] don’t get to make that choice [to call witnesses]— Chief Justice John Roberts does. This isn’t a matter of Democrats needing four “moderate” Republicans to vote for subpoenas and witnesses, as the Trump lawyers have been claiming. Rather, the impeachment rules, like all trial systems, put a large thumb on the scale of issuing subpoenas and place that power within the authority of the judge, in this case the chief justice.

Most critically, it would take a two-thirds vote — not a majority — of the Senate to overrule that. This week, Democrats can and should ask the chief justice to issue subpoenas on his authority so that key witnesses of relevance like John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney appear in the Senate, and the Senate should subpoena all relevant documents as well.”