GOP senator hopes impeachment will be 'instructive' for Trump

Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., said on Sunday that he hopes undergoing impeachment and the trial in the Senate will “be instructive” for President Trump.

Braun’s comments came during a contentious back-and-forth with moderator Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” where Todd told the Indiana lawmaker that Trump "is going to take acquittal and think, 'I can keep doing this,'"

"No, I don't think that," Braun replied. "Hopefully, it'll be instructive."

"I think he'll put two and two together," the Indiana Republican added. "In this case, he was taken to the carpet."

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Before Trump can be acquitted, however, the Senate starts a contentious week tomorrow as his defense team resumes its case and senators face a critical vote on whether to hear witnesses or proceed directly to a vote that is widely expected to end in his acquittal. The articles of impeachment charge Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The Capitol Hill maneuvering will be complemented by high-stakes efforts on both sides of the aisle to claim political advantage from the proceedings as the presidential nominating season kicks off in Iowa on Feb. 3.

After a two-hour opening argument Saturday, Trump's defense team will lay out its case in depth beginning Monday. White House counsel Pat Cipollone said Trump's lawyers don't expect to take the full 24 hours allotted to them, but there will be arguments from some familiar faces.

Harvard law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz, former independent counsel Ken Starr and former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi will speak on specific topics.

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Dershowitz said Sunday he would argue that the charges against Trump are too minor to warrant the president's removal from office under the Constitution. “Even if true, they did not allege impeachable offenses," Dershowitz told "Fox News Sunday."

Under the Senate rules passed last week, senators will vote whether to consider new witnesses and evidence after the Q&A time is elapsed. Four Republicans would have to break ranks to join Democrats in the GOP-controlled Senate to extend the trial for an undetermined amount of time.

If that happens, expect a bitter fight over which witnesses might be called and which documents might be subpoenaed. Democrats have called for testimony from Trump's former national security adviser, John Bolton, and his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney. An attempt to call either probably would lead to a showdown with the White House, which claims both men have “absolute immunity" from being called to testify before the Senate, even in an impeachment trial. Still, Bolton has said he would appear if issued a subpoena by the Senate.

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While Republicans have hoped for a speedy trial, Trump has called for the testimony of former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter and the intelligence community whistleblower whose summer complaint about Trump's July telephone call with Ukraine's leader instigated the impeachment inquiry. Hunter Biden served on the board of a Ukraine gas company while his father was vice president.

But some Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., have expressed resistance to calling those witnesses.

If the vote fails, the Senate could move swiftly to its vote on whether to remove or acquit Trump, giving the president the result he's been looking for as soon as the end of the week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.