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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 SchumerTrump casts doubt on hopes for quick stimulus deal after aides expressed optimism Schumer says he had 'serious talk' with Feinstein, declines to comment on Judiciary role Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein MORE (D-N.Y.) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless benefits Trump casts doubt on hopes for quick stimulus deal after aides expressed optimism Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid MORE (R-Ky.) will meet Thursday afternoon for their first discussion on the rules for the impeachment trial of President TrumpDonald John TrumpJudge rules to not release Russia probe documents over Trump tweets Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida MORE in the upper chamber.

Schumer told reporters on his way to a strategy meeting with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo On The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless benefits Overnight Health Care: CDC expands definition of 'close contact' after COVID-19 report | GOP coronavirus bill blocked in Senate | OxyContin maker agrees to B settlement with Trump administration 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.