Schumer says he tried to get McConnell to start impeachment trial talks two weeks ago

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerImmigrants who seek opportunity should comply with longstanding American values The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders's momentum puts Democrats on edge Schumer confirms spending K on cheesecake in 10 years: 'Guilty as charged' MORE (D-N.Y.) criticized his GOP counterpart on Monday, saying he asked Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders's momentum puts Democrats on edge House Freedom Caucus chairman endorses Collins's Georgia Senate bid This week: House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime MORE (R-Ky.) to start negotiations on an impeachment trial two weeks ago, but that McConnell instead went public with his own comments on what such a trial would look like.

"It was very partisan, very slanted, very unfair," Schumer said of the trial outlined by McConnell, who pledged to be in "total coordination" with the White House.

"So to get things back on track, I sent a letter to Leader McConnell last night outlining a very reasonable structure that will result in a fair trial," Schumer said.

He added that he sent the same letter to every senator and that he expected Republicans "would be sympathetic" to the process outlined in the letter because it would pave the way for a "speedy and fair trial."

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"In the coming weeks, particularly Republican senators, will have a choice: Do they want a fair honest trial that examines all the facts, or do they want a trial that doesn't let the facts come out?" Schumer asked.

He added that he expects to have support from both Republicans and Democrats "because the argument is so strong."

Schumer wrote in his letter to McConnell that Democrats want to call acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyWhite House preparing to ask Congress for funds to combat coronavirus: report Tucker Carlson calls out Mick Mulvaney on immigration remarks: 'Dishonest and stupid' Trump furious after officials allowed Americans with coronavirus to fly home with other passengers: report MORE, his senior adviser Robert Blair, former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonTrump directly sought to block publication of Bolton's book: WaPo 'Parasite' studio fires back after Trump criticism: 'He can't read' Trump swipes at 'little wise guy' Brad Pitt, Korean film 'Parasite' during rally MORE and Office of Management and Budget staffer Michael Duffey to testify as part of a Senate trial.

"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.

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.

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GOP leadership has suggested they want to take a similar tactic by punting on witnesses and keep it separate from an initial resolution on the procedure for a Senate trial.

Pressed if Democrats were willing to accept closed-door taped depositions, similar to witnesses during the Clinton trial, Schumer demurred but noted that he believes "live testimony is the best way to go."

He also declined to say if Democrats would be willing to accept controversial witnesses from Republicans as part of the negotiation. Instead, he stressed that the onus is on McConnell and Republicans to agree to a "fair" hearing.

“If Leader McConnell doesn’t hold a full and fair trial the American people will rightly ask what are you, Leader McConnell, and what is President TrumpDonald John TrumpAdvisor: Sanders could beat Trump in Texas Bloomberg rips Sanders over Castro comments What coronavirus teaches us for preventing the next big bio threat MORE hiding?” Schumer asked.