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Schumer to meet McConnell Thursday to discuss trial rules

Schumer to meet McConnell Thursday to discuss trial rules
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden and the new Congress must protect Americans from utility shutoffs 'Almost Heaven, West Virginia' — Joe Manchin and a 50-50 Senate Democrats looking to speed through Senate impeachment trial MORE (D-N.Y.) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPelosi mum on when House will send impeachment article to Senate Democratic senator: COVID-19 relief is priority over impeachment trial The Hill's Morning Report - Biden asks Congress to expand largest relief response in U.S. history MORE (R-Ky.) will meet Thursday afternoon for their first discussion on the rules for the impeachment trial of President TrumpDonald TrumpCIA chief threatened to resign over push to install Trump loyalist as deputy: report Azar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to 'tarnish' administration's accomplishments Justice Dept. argues Trump should get immunity from rape accuser's lawsuit MORE in the upper chamber.

Schumer told reporters on his way to a strategy meeting with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats point fingers on whether Capitol rioters had inside help Pelosi suggests criminal charges for any lawmaker who helped with Capitol riot Pelosi mum on when House will send impeachment article to Senate MORE (D-Calif.) Thursday morning that he expected to meet with McConnell after lunch, when both leaders will have a chance to hash out their positions with their respective caucuses.

“I’m meeting with Speaker Pelosi now and I expect I’ll be meeting with Leader McConnell this afternoon,” he said.

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Pelosi, at the urging of Democratic colleagues, is holding the articles of impeachment passed by the House late Wednesday until McConnell agrees to the rules for the Senate trial, arguing that she doesn’t want to select the impeachment managers without knowing “the arena that we are in.”

Schumer on Thursday morning backed Pelosi’s call.

“We want a fair trial. A fair trial, to my way of thinking, involves witnesses and documents. You don’t have trials without them,” he said.

“Leader McConnell spoke for a half hour, didn’t give one reason why there shouldn’t be witnesses or documents,” he added. “This is impeachment, it’s serious. Let’s hope some other Republicans rise to the occasion.”

McConnell panned the articles of impeachment during a lengthy speech on the Senate floor earlier Thursday  morning.

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“This is by far the thinnest basis for any House-passed presidential impeachment in American history. The thinnest and the weakest — and nothing else even comes close,” he said.

McConnell later scoffed at the notion that Pelosi would pressure him to agree to a rules package for the trial by holding the articles of impeachment in the House.

“It’s beyond me how the Speaker and Democratic leader in the Senate think withholding the articles of impeachment and not sending them over gives them leverage, is beyond me. Frankly, I’m not anxious to have the trial. If she thinks her case is so weak she doesn’t want to send it over, throw me into that briar patch,” he told reporters outside his office after speaking on the floor.