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Schumer to colleagues running for White House: Impeachment comes first

Schumer to colleagues running for White House: Impeachment comes first
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerMcConnell: Power-sharing deal can proceed after Manchin, Sinema back filibuster Justice watchdog to probe whether officials sought to interfere with election Capitol insurrection fallout: A PATRIOT Act 2.0? MORE (D-N.Y.) says Democratic colleagues running for president, such as Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenTim Ryan says he's 'looking seriously' at running for Portman's Senate seat Leahy, not Roberts, to preside over impeachment trial Skepticism reigns as Biden, McConnell begin new era MORE (D-Mass.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersTim Ryan says he's 'looking seriously' at running for Portman's Senate seat Bernie Sanders has been most-followed member of Congress on social media for six years This week: Senate stuck in limbo 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.

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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 McConnellSchumer: Impeachment trial will be quick, doesn't need a lot of witnesses McConnell: Power-sharing deal can proceed after Manchin, Sinema back filibuster Budowsky: A Biden-McConnell state of emergency summit 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 BidenBudowsky: A Biden-McConnell state of emergency summit DC might win US House vote if it tries Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman inks deal with IMG Models MORE, Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharSenators spar over validity of Trump impeachment trial Sunday shows - Biden agenda, Trump impeachment trial dominate Klobuchar says Senate impeachment trial of former official is constitutional: 'We have precedent' MORE (D-Minn.), Cory BookerCory BookerDemocrats seek answers on impact of Russian cyberattack on Justice Department, Courts Senate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official Booker brings girlfriend, actress Rosario Dawson, to inauguration MORE (D-N.Y.) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetLawmakers move to oust extremists from military Top Democrat pushes for tying unemployment insurance to economic conditions 50-50 Senate opens the door to solutions outlasting Trump's moment of violence 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 TrumpSchumer: Impeachment trial will be quick, doesn't need a lot of witnesses Nurse to be tapped by Biden as acting surgeon general: report Schumer calls for Biden to declare climate emergency 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.