Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats' do-or-die moment Biden touts 'progress' during 'candid' meetings on .5T plan Progressives push for fossil subsidy repeal in spending bill MORE (D-N.Y.) says Democratic colleagues running for president, such as Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Warren11 senators urge House to pass .5T package before infrastructure bill Senate Democrats seeking information from SPACs, questioning 'misaligned incentives' UN secretary-general blasts space tourism MORE (D-Mass.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — EPA finalizing rule cutting HFCs Manchin fires warning shot on plan to expand Medicare Democrats steamroll toward showdown on House floor MORE (I-Vt.), should prioritize the Senate impeachment trial over campaigning ahead of the Iowa caucuses.
The trial could tie up senators on the Senate floor for the entire month of January, right before the first contest of the Democratic primary calendar scheduled in Iowa for Feb. 3.
With the possibility of close votes on procedural questions such as what witnesses should be called to the Senate floor, Schumer says colleagues should make the trial their first priority, even if it might tread on their campaign plans.
“This has to come first. This is one of the most solemn decisions that anyone has to make and I’ve told all members of my caucus that scheduling concerns are secondary to doing this the right way,” Schumer told reporters Tuesday.
A Senate trial is expected to begin after New Year’s Day but Schumer and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse passes standalone bill to provide B for Israel's Iron Dome Pelosi vows to avert government shutdown McConnell calls Trump a 'fading brand' in Woodward-Costa book MORE (R-Ky.) still have to sit down to negotiate a resolution to set the rules and parameters of the trial.
In addition to Sanders and Warren, who are at the top of polls along with former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe House passes sweeping defense policy bill MORE, Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Officials want action on cyberattacks Senate panel advances antitrust bill that eyes Google, Facebook This week: Democrats face mounting headaches MORE (D-Minn.), Cory BookerCory BookerThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks Biden employs flurry of meetings to unite warring factions Biden says he will review executive actions after police reform talks fail MORE (D-N.Y.) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetBuild Back Better Act must include funding to restore forests, make communities resilient and create jobs Interior reverses Trump, moves BLM headquarters back to DC Conservation group says it will only endorse Democrats who support .5T spending plan MORE (D-Colo.) are also running for the party’s presidential nomination.
A Senate trial would put a major crimp in their schedule.
Senate rules generally call for the chamber to be in session six days a week to hear the case presented by the House impeachment managers and the defense presented by President TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE’s legal team.
During that time, senators are required to sit in their seats and listen to the evidence without speaking. They may submit questions and proposals for motions to the presiding chair, who would be Chief Justice John Roberts.
Schumer said he’s waiting for an invitation from McConnell to discuss next month’s schedule.
“As soon as he’s ready,” Schumer said.