By Cassie Miller
For the Pittsburgh Current
The impeachment drama unfolding on Capitol Hill this week is all about “national security” and the “credibility of our country,” U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., said Thursday.
Speaking to home-state reporters, the Scranton lawmaker said that he and his colleagues were listening attentively as House impeachment managers made arguments that stretched over eight hours on Wednesday.
“It’s our obligation to sit and to listen,” Casey said.
Casey said that he’s been “impressed by how engaged people are” – including his own colleagues.
He noted that, like himself, most of his colleagues have been quietly taking notes throughout the process but said the few instances where other senators walked out were “troubling.”
Casey said he hasn’t discussed any of the impeachment proceedings with Pennsylvania’s other senator, Republican Pat Toomey.
Casey said there will be time for GOP and Democratic senators to interact in the deliberation, toward the end of the impeachment process when they will make their arguments to their colleagues.
Pointing to Acting Ukrainian Ambassador Bill Taylor’s extensive notes, Casey said, “I want the Republicans to continually be challenged by the evidence and I think they have been.”
He added that he was “amazed” at how often there was a document that impeachment managers could connect to the basic charges in the case, calling the House Judiciary Committee’s notes “very compelling.”
“This isn’t a blank record that’s being filled in by the day – we know a lot about this president,” Casey said. This wasn’t a change in policy in one phone call, this is a long pattern that you can only get if you have the chronology.”
The most helpful thing during the process so-far, Casey said, has been the repetition of key points by House impeachment managers.
“The GOP complained that there’s a lot of repetition,” Casey said. “But It was helpful for me when Chairman Schiff went through it month by month.”
Casey said he will continue to review his notes and pick out what is most relevant during the trial.
Cassie Miller is the Associate Editor at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star where this story first appeared.