Donald Trump on Monday attacked the impeachment process as a ‘con job’ while Chuck Schumer demanded a ‘fair negotiation’ from Republicans as both sides prepare for the next step – a formal trial in the Senate.
The latest round of fighting comes as both Democrats and Republicans look ahead to the trial stage 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.
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’
‘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 a letter he sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell 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 – including White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton – 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 also wants to subpoena Michael Duffy, associate director for national security at the Office of Management and Budget, and Robert Blair, senior adviser to Mulvaney, to testify in addition to Mulvaney and Bolton.
‘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.