Senate GOP leaders have signaled they intend to defend Trump wholeheartedly, but they’re also loath to let the upper chamber descend into chaos or divide their caucus ahead of a tough 2020 cycle. And even if Senate Republicans wanted to embrace the hard-line posture of the House, the party’s narrow majority makes that all but impossible under Senate rules.
Calling controversial witnesses will require near lockstep party unity from 51 of the 53 Senate Republicans to make any procedural maneuvers, a tough task given the diverse views in the GOP, according to senators and aides.

Of course, being less of an embarrassment than House Republicans is a pretty low bar.

With the likelihood of a Senate impeachment trial looming, President Trump’s allies in the Senate are expanding their efforts to investigate the Ukraine-related conspiracy theories that are at the heart of Trump’s pressure campaign on the country.
Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) announced Friday their requests to interview two individuals who the Republicans believe could shed light on the supposed Ukraine-Democratic plot against Trump in 2016.

After this is over, they’ll be joining up with O.J. to find the real killers.

* The White House just informed House Democrats they won’t bother to offer any defense of Trump during next week’s impeachment hearings, asserting that impeachment cannot be legitimately applied to Trump. Okay, they didn’t quite put it that way, but by calling the proceedings “baseless” and commanding the House to “end” impeachment, which is perfectly within the House’s constitutional authority, that’s what they really meant. -- gs

* Adam Schiff responds to the White House:

Indeed it isn’t.

* Data for Progress does a detailed analysis of the effects advocating Medicare-for-all had on Democratic congressional candidates in 2018 and finds that it’s both more complicated and less substantial than you may have been led to believe.