Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer made a case for his witness list Friday on the Senate floor. He sent his list of demands for the impeachment trial against President Trump to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a few weeks ago. According to Schumer, he's proved why he deserves to hear from new witnesses, and to present new documents before the articles of impeachment reach the upper chamber.
"Why shouldn’t the Senate call witnesses?" Schumer asked.
The minority leader claims he "did not hear one good answer" to that question.
"Never in our history has there been an impeachment trial in which the Senate was denied the ability to hear witnesses," he continued.
It's not just unprecedented, Schumer argued. He suggested that recent events have also bolstered his request for more witnesses. For instance, on Dec. 21, a FOIA document showed that Office of Management and Budget official Michael Duffey asked the Defense Department to hold off on sending military aid to Ukraine 91 minutes after Trump’s July phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky that jumpstarted the impeachment inquiry. On Dec. 29, Schumer continued, the New York Times reported that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney had asked what the congressional response would be if the administration withheld Ukraine aid. Mulvaney and Duffey are both on Schumer's list of witnesses he'd still like to hear from, as well as former national security adviser John Bolton, senior adviser to the acting White House chief of staff Robert Blair.
McConnell didn't see how these reports justify Schumer's requests and it sounds like the Senate Majority Leader is not going to give an inch to the Democrats. Why should he?
"No member of this body needs condescending lectures on fairness from the House Democrats who just rushed through the most unfair impeachment in modern history, or lectures on impartiality from senators who happily pre-judged the case with President Clinton," McConnell said.
"President Trump should get the same treatment that every single Senator thought was fair for President Clinton," he added. "Just like 20 years ago, we should address mid-trial questions such as witnesses after briefs, opening arguments, Senator questions, and other relevant motions. Fair is fair.’"
There's no getting around it. Schumer's Senate requests make it seem like the House failed to make the case for impeachment.
"As House Democrats continue their political delay, they’re searching desperately for some new talking points to help them deflect blame for what they’ve done," McConnell noted. "We’ve heard it claimed that the same House Democrats who botched their own process should get to reach into the Senate and dictate our process."
"Democrats have let 'Trump derangement syndrome' develop into the kind of dangerous partisan fever that our founding fathers were afraid of," McConnell said.