Schumer: Newly released emails show importance of White House witnesses in Senate trial

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocratic senator blasts 'draconian' press restrictions during impeachment trial Feds seek 25-year sentence for Coast Guard officer accused of targeting lawmakers, justices Clinton: McConnell's rules like 'head juror colluding with the defendant to cover up a crime' MORE (D-N.Y.) said Sunday that newly released emails show the importance of having White House witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial.

Schumer spoke at a press conference in New York City and called on President TrumpDonald John TrumpRouhani says Iran will never seek nuclear weapons Trump downplays seriousness of injuries in Iran attack after US soldiers treated for concussions Trump says Bloomberg is 'wasting his money' on 2020 campaign MORE to release the documents and allow witnesses to testify in front of the Senate to allow for a “full, fair and honest” trial. 

“What is a trial with no witnesses and no documents?” he said, according to a press release from his office. “It's a sham trial. And that's why feel so strongly that there ought to be witnesses and documents.”

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Schumer cited the emails released this weekend in response to a Center for Public Integrity Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. One of the emails sent by senior White House official Michael Duffey requested that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) pause military aid to Ukraine and to keep that information “closely held to those who need to know.”

The email was reportedly sent hours after Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The Democrats have already requested that Duffey testify. 

“If there was ever an argument that we need Mr. Duffey to come testify, this is that information,” Schumer said Sunday. “This email is explosive.”

The Senate minority leader questioned why Duffey wanted the withholding of the aid kept secret, why he requested it in the first place and whether the president had requested it. 

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“Until we hear from the witnesses, until we get the documents, the American people will correctly assume that those blocking their testimony were aiding and abetting a cover-up, plain and simple,” Schumer said.

“So I'll close by saying this: President Trump, release the emails. Let the witnesses testify. What are you afraid of?” he added.

Schumer has been pushing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump admin releases trove of documents on Ukrainian military aid The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions What to watch for on Day 2 of Senate impeachment trial MORE (R-Ky.) to allow witnesses in the Senate trial. But Republicans claim the House Democrats should have had all the necessary witnesses testify before impeaching the president, even though the White House blocked certain officials from testifying. 

The House passed two articles of impeachment against the president last week. Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Health Care: Justices won't fast-track ObamaCare case before election | New virus spreads from China to US | Collins challenger picks up Planned Parenthood endorsement Why Senate Republicans should eagerly call witnesses to testify Trump health chief: 'Not a need' for ObamaCare replacement plan right now MORE (D-Calif.) has said she is withholding the articles from the Senate until the rules for the trial are decided upon.