Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday, Dec. 17, rejected a proposal from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to take into account that witnesses and document should be decided later in the impeachment trial in the Senate, according to the Hill.
“The key issues here are witnesses and documents. We should decide those from the very beginning. In fact, many in my caucus have already voiced a fear that Mitch McConnell will … just set up how many hours each side has to discuss things and then shut things down before we get witnesses,” Schumer said.
“We should decide witnesses and documents from the beginning and not put it off. They are the most important decisions we must make,” he added.
Democrats wanted four witnesses, which include acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser, John Bolton. Democrats also want a single resolution which, could combine both the trial process and specific witnesses.
“McConnell, however, rejected Schumer’s proposed approach earlier in the day when he noted that the resolution that launched former President Clinton’s 1999 impeachment trial did not address the testimony of additional witnesses.” the Hill reported.
“What Senator Schumer is asking for now is not the procedure that we agreed to in the Clinton impeachment,” McConnell said.
“The basic procedural framework of the Clinton impeachment trial served the Senate and the nation well, in my view,” McConnell said, “I still believe the Senate should try to follow the 1999 model.”
Earlier, during his floor speech, McConnell also said that he did not want additional witnesses, but indicated that the decision should be made later.
McConnell said he was optimistic about getting a deal with Schumer, saying “I’m optimistic we can agree on phase one. It’s pretty obvious we’re likely to disagree on phase two, and we’ll see at that point whether there are 51 members of the Senate who want to take one of two directions, either going in the direction of the witnesses or going in the direction of voting on the articles of impeachment.”
Schumer rejected that plan, saying, “Leader McConnell talked about a bifurcation. ‘Let’s do the early, easy stuff first.’ No.”
Also in a radio interview on “The Brian Kilmeade Show,” McConnell said, “You can see here that this would be a kind of mutual assured destruction episode, that would go on for a long time. … The president’s not going to be removed from office. The only issue is how long do we want to take to get the final decision. I think that we’ve heard enough. we’re going to listen to arguments, but my view is it’s time to vote and move on.”