Schumer to meet McConnell Thursday to discuss trial rules

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

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMcConnell launches ad touting role in passing coronavirus relief Joe Biden can't lead the charge from his home in Delaware Texas man arrested for allegedly threatening Democrats over coronavirus bill MORE (D-N.Y.) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Health Care: Trump resists pressure for nationwide stay-at-home order | Trump open to speaking to Biden about virus response | Fauci gets security detail | Outbreak creates emergency in nursing homes McConnell: Pelosi trying to 'jam' Senate on fourth coronavirus relief bill On The Money: House Dems push huge jobs project in wake of coronavirus | Trump leans on businesses in virus response | Lawmakers press IRS to get relief checks to seniors MORE (R-Ky.) will meet Thursday afternoon for their first discussion on the rules for the impeachment trial of President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden campaign: Trump and former vice president will have phone call about coronavirus Esper: Military personnel could help treat coronavirus patients 'if push comes to shove' Schumer calls for military official to act as medical equipment czar MORE in the upper chamber.

Schumer told reporters on his way to a strategy meeting with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSchumer calls for military official to act as medical equipment czar Overnight Health Care: Trump resists pressure for nationwide stay-at-home order | Trump open to speaking to Biden about virus response | Fauci gets security detail | Outbreak creates emergency in nursing homes McConnell: Pelosi trying to 'jam' Senate on fourth coronavirus relief bill 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.