Chuck Schumer on Monday accused Donald Trump of orchestrating a cover-up of his actions in regards to the Ukraine and claimed many Republicans have ‘privately’ told him they want to hear new evidence when the Senate holds an impeachment trial of the president.
‘The president has offered nothing exculpatory to disprove the evidence has been put forward. Instead, he has orchestrated a cover-up. It has left many in the Senate and millions across the country asking, what is the president hiding? Why doesn’t he want the facts to come out?,’ the Senate Democratic Leader said during a press conference at the Capitol.
‘I haven’t seen a single good argument about why these witnesses shouldn’t testify or these documents be produced, unless the president has something to hide, and his supporters want that information hidden,’ Schumer noted.
‘To engage a trial without the facts coming up is to engage in a cover-up. To conduct a trial without the facts is saying we’re afraid. We have something hide. To conduct a trial without relevant witnesses haven’t been heard from, to just re-hash evidence that was heard in the House, just doesn’t make sense,’ he added.
Chuck Schumer accused Donald Trump of orchestrating a cover-up of his actions in regards to the Ukraine
Schumer said there should be no reason for witnesses not to testify unless President Trump ha something to hide
Schumer also claimed that many of his Republican colleagues have ‘privately’ told him they don’t agree with Trump’s actions in regards to the Ukraine but need more evidence of an impeachable offense before they could agree to convict the president.
‘Many Republicans have voiced to me and many of my colleagues privately that they think what the president did is wrong, but they are just not sure and enough facts have not been presented to make an impeachable case, high crimes and misdemeanors, this is the way to do it,’ he said during his press conference.
He argued this was the reason he wanted to call four additional witnesses next month when the Senate tries President Trump for impeachment.
‘Trials have witnesses! That’s what trials are all about,’ Schumer said.
The White House appears to be rejecting the offer, although Trump has also demanded the opportunity to bring fact-witnesses to defend himself.
‘Why in the world would we produce witnesses to help the Democrats failed to build the case they failed to build,’ counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway told Dailyail.com when asked about Schumer’s offer.
‘He’s under no obligation to help legitimize a process which has not been very legitimate and very fair,’ she said during a gaggle with reporters.
‘Why should they testify? The Democrats bear the burden of proof to have proved their case and they failed to do that. You want us to come in in a rescue boat and produce the chief of staff to the president and the former national security advisor because the Democrats produced law professors who lecture for a living,’ she said.
Schumer, a New York Democrat, wants to subpoena acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney; former national security adviser John Bolton; Michael Duffy, associate director for national security at the Office of Management and Budget; and Robert Blair, senior adviser to Mulvaney.
‘There is no reason on god’s green Earth why they should add be called and testify unless you are afraid of what they might say,’ Schumer said.
Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer are expected to meet this week to discuss the impeachment trial process in the Senatea
Schumer brushed aside a question on why House Democrats didn’t call these officials when they held their impeachment inquiry into Trump.
‘I’m not going to second-guess the House. There is virtually no arguments, no good argument if you are interested in the facts and not having these witnesses come forward,’ he said.
Democrats in the House controlled the hearing process on that side of the Capitol. In the Senate, control belongs to Republican leader Mitch McConnell. Schumer and McConnell are expected to meet this week to talk about the trial process.
The House will vote this week on two articles of impeachment against President Trump – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – both of which are expected to pass the Democratic controlled chamber.
The impeachment process then moves to a trial in the Senate – presided over by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. McConnell has said the trial will begin when senators return from their holiday break in January.
The Republican leader has not yet responded to Schumer’s request for additional witnesses. McConnell is believed to want a speedy trial with no witnesses in order to avoid any political embarrassment for his party.
Donald Trump attacked the impeachment process as a ‘con job’
Chuck Schumer told CNN that Democrats ‘want a trial to be fair for the American people’
Schumer disputed questions about why he objected to having witnesses testify during then President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial during the 1990s, arguing the situations are different.
Schumer, then a new senator, voted against calling witnesses when Clinton was impeached in 1999.
‘The witnesses in ’99 had already been given, had already given grand jury testimony. We knew what they were to say. The four witnesses we have called have not been heard from,’ he said.
‘1999 was a different case. There were all of the obvious reasons why they did not want a witness like Monica Lewinsky testifying in public. I was there, and a related to what she — what the questions might be about that the whole nation including children would be watching. It’s a total different situation. There is no analogy,’ the New York Democrat argued.
President Trump, meanwhile, on Monday attacked the impeachment process as a ‘con job’ as he sets the stage to make his argument before the Senate.
Both Democrats and Republicans are looking ahead to the trial in the Senate as it appears to be a foregone conclusion Trump will become the third president in American politics to be impeached when the House holds a formal vote later this week.
Trump ranted about the impeachment, the media, and Democrats on Twitter Monday morning.
‘READ THE TRANSCRIPTS! The Impeachment Hoax is the greatest con job in the history of American politics! The Fake News Media, and their partner, the Democrat Party, are working overtime to make life for the United Republican Party, and all it stands for, as difficult as possible!,’ he wrote.
Schumer appeared on CNN’s ‘New Day’ Monday morning to discuss the letter he sent toMcConnell on Sunday requesting the upper chamber engage in a ‘fair and honest’ trial of the president.
He argued for four current and former officials from the Trump administration testify before the Senate.
‘We want a trial to be fair for the American people,’ Schumer said on CNN, ‘but not to be something where there are witnesses who have direct knowledge as to what happened and do not testify.’
He also called on McConnell to be ‘fair’ in the negotiations when the two leaders sit down this week to hash out the process by which the Senate will hold Trump’s impeachment trial.
And he warned Republicans not to engage in a ‘cover-up.’
‘What I’m asking is there be a fair negotiation focused on the facts between McConnell and I that I would expect Democrats and Republicans to support. I expect some of my Republican colleagues when they see this letter will say “that’s fair.” They don’t want to be a part of a cover-up,’ he said.
Additionally White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham slammed Chuck Schumer’s call for a ‘fair’ trail as ‘laughable.’
‘”Let us hope that fairness will prevail” a laughable quote from @SenSchumer this AM,’ Grisham tweeted, adding that ‘after the dems release an “impeachment report” in the middle of the night. Thankfully the people of this country continue to see the partisan sham that this is.’
Grisham was referring to the House Judiciary Committee’s 658-page formal impeachment report, which was submitted shortly after midnight.
Schumer wants to subpoena Mulvaney, Bolton, Duffy and Blair – all but Bolton still work for the administration.
‘These four witnesses have direct knowledge of the facts particularly in regards to the aid to the Ukraine,’ he told CNN.
Democrats allege President Trump with held nearly $400 million in military aid to the Ukraine in a move to pressure the country to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden, along with an unproven theory that Ukraine – and not Russia – interfered in the 2016 election.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham slammed Chuck Schumer’s call for a ‘fair’ trail as ‘laughable’
Mulvaney, Duffy and Blair would be questioned about the original hold up on the aid – which the administration argues was done because of concerns about corruption in the Ukraine – and Bolton would be asked about a ‘shadow foreign’ policy run by Rudy Giuliani.
Bolton left the White House in September.
Trump maintains he did nothing wrong. Republicans point out the money made it to the Ukraine although Democrats argue that happened after a whistleblower revealed the contents of Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The battle comes as both sides gear up for the next stage of Trump’s impeachment, when the fight moves to the Senate.
The House this week is expected to approve the two articles of impeachment – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – which means the Senate will have to conduct a formal trial into President Trump.
McConnell has said that will happen in January when the Senate returns from its holiday recess.
In a letter to McConnell on Sunday, Schumer suggested the Senate engage in a ‘fair and honest’ trial and then named the four officials he wanted to subpoena.
‘Senate Democrats believe strongly, and I trust Senate Republicans agree, that this trial must be one that is fair, that considers all of the relevant facts, and that exercises the Senate’s ‘sole Power of Impeachment’ under the Constitution with integrity and dignity,’ he wrote.
‘The trial must be one that not only hears all of the evidence and adjudicates the case fairly; it must also pass the fairness test with the American people,’ he added.
Some Republicans, meanwhile, want to call Hunter Biden to question about his work with the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – seen with Vice President Pence – is said to want a quick impeachment trial with no witnesses
Senate Democrats want to subpoena former National Security Adviser John Bolton (left) and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney (right) in the impeachment trial
McConnell has indicated that he wants a quick trial without calling witnesses amid fears it would become a political spectacle.
Schumer, who proposed the Senate proceedings begin January 6, and McConnell are expected to meet early this week to consider how the Senate trial would proceed.
If an agreement is not reached, the Senate will be forced to vote at each step of the process, with each quote requiring 51 votes.
Republicans control 53 votes in the chamber.