Schumer briefs Democrats on impeachment trial 'mechanics'

Schumer briefs Democrats on impeachment trial 'mechanics'
© Greg Nash
Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump administration installs plaque marking finish of 100 miles of border wall Sanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate implications MORE (D-N.Y.) briefed Democrats during a closed-door caucus lunch on Wednesday on the "mechanics" of a likely impeachment trial.

As part of the briefing, lawmakers were shown "video clips" from the Senate's 1999 trial against then-President Clinton to help "familiarize themselves with the process," a senior Democratic aide familiar with the lunch said.

The briefing was limited to the "mechanics of a potential Senate trial," the aide added, because the House hasn't yet drafted potential articles of impeachment against President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rails against impeachment in speech to Texas farmers Trump administration planning to crack down on 'birth tourism': report George Conway on Trump adding Dershowitz, Starr to legal team: 'Hard to see how either could help' MORE. How broadly the articles are written, and how many there are, is likely to shape a Senate trial.
 
The closed-door briefing by Schumer comes as Senate Republicans met with White House counsel Pat Cipollone during their own closed-door caucus lunch. 
 
GOP senators say they discussed the potential procedure for a Senate trial in broad terms, and that Cipollone detailed why the House impeachment inquiry process is "flawed." 
 
"All the issues remain the same, sham process, probably doesn't deserve to even come over here, but if it does we'll have to deal with it," Sen. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerSenate GOP mulls speeding up Trump impeachment trial The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial GOP threatens to weaponize impeachment witnesses amid standoff MORE (R-N.D.) told reporters, summarizing the discussion in the meeting. 
 
Senators are increasingly trying to familiarize themselves with what to expect from a potential Senate impeachment trial as it appears increasingly likely that the House will send them articles of impeachment. Only 15 senators now serving voted in the Clinton impeachment trial. 
 
The House is weeks into its investigation into whether or not Trump tied Ukraine aid to the country opening up a probe into Vice President Biden or his son Hunter Biden. House Democrats have pointed to Christmas as a soft deadline for a vote on impeachment articles on the floor. 
 
Schumer and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats worry a speedy impeachment trial will shut out public George Conway group drops ad seeking to remind GOP senators of their 'sworn oaths' ahead of impeachment trial GOP senator 'open' to impeachment witnesses 'within the scope' of articles MORE (R-Ky.) are expected to negotiate ahead of an impeachment trial to try to reach an agreement on the ground rules for the proceedings. During the Clinton impeachment trial, the chamber passed an initial rules resolution in a 100-0 vote. 
 
Schumer noted during a press conference on Tuesday that he and McConnell had not yet started negotiating, but that he was "certainly willing to work with him."

'The best way to do something as important and almost as hallowed a procedure as this is in a bipartisan way," Schumer said.