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Schumer to McConnell on impeachment trial: Doing 'just what the president wants is totally out of line'

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerUS national security policy in the 117th Congress and a new administration Voters say Biden should make coronavirus vaccine a priority: poll New York City subway service could be slashed 40 percent, officials warn MORE (D-N.Y.) on Monday knocked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden's climate plans can cut emissions and also be good politics Acting Defense secretary makes surprise trip to Somalia As Biden administration ramps up, Trump legal effort drags on MORE (R-Ky.), saying he was "totally out of line" after the GOP leader said he would take his cues about the details of an impeachment trial from the White House.

"For him to talk to the president is one thing, for him to say 'I'm going to do just what the president wants' is totally out of line," Schumer said during an interview with CNN's "New Day. 

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"Discussion in this kind of situation is not out of the question at all; saying you're going to do just what the president wants is totally out of line," Schumer added. 

Schumer sent his opening salvo in negotiations over a Senate trial in a letter to McConnell on Sunday night, laying out what Democrats were asking for as part of a trial expected to start in January.

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"We believe all of this should be considered in one resolution. The issue of witnesses and documents, which are the most important issues facing us, should be decided before we move forward with any part of the trial," Schumer wrote in his letter. 

Schumer's letter came after McConnell said late last week that he would be in "total coordination" with the White House on his impeachment strategy. 

"I wrote this letter because Mitch McConnell seemed to be going off in his own direction and there was no semblance of even discussing a fair, balanced trial where the facts come out," Schumer added on Monday to CNN's "New Day." 

He added that he would "prefer" to get a deal with McConnell on the process for the upcoming Senate resolution. Those negotiations have not yet begun. 

During the impeachment trial of former President Clinton, senators voted 100-0 on a resolution laying out the process for a trial, but a vote on a subsequent resolution calling for specific witnesses broke down along party lines.