Schumer renews call for witnesses to testify in impeachment trial in wake of 'game changer' report

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' A renewed emphasis on research and development funding is needed from the government Data shows seven Senate Democrats have majority non-white staffs MORE (D-N.Y.) on Monday renewed his call for key Trump administration figures to testify during the Senate impeachment trial in the wake of a New York Times report detailing the White House’s efforts to withhold nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine.

“Simply put, in our fight to have key documents and witnesses in a Senate impeachment trial, these new revelations are a game changer,” Schumer said at a press conference just a day after the Times published an explosive story offering new details about some White House officials’ actions in blocking Ukrainian military aid. 

The report showed the role officials such as acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyOVERNIGHT ENERGY: WH pushed for 'correction' to Weather Service tweet contradicting Trump in 'Sharpiegate' incident, watchdog says | Supreme Court rules that large swath of Oklahoma belongs to Native American tribe WH pushed for 'correction' to Weather Service tweet contradicting Trump in 'Sharpiegate' incident, watchdog says  Mulvaney: Trump faces difficulty if 2020 election becomes 'referendum' on him MORE played after Trump directed his administration to withhold the aid. Among other things, it showed that Mulvaney and Robert Blair, assistant to the president and senior adviser to Mulvaney, were aware that the move would prompt backlash from Congress. 

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The Times also noted that Trump declined to release the aid despite appeals from former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonTrump flails as audience dwindles and ratings plummet Many Democrats want John Bolton's testimony, but Pelosi stays mum Trump envoy says US ready to talk to North Korea but rebukes Pyongyang counterpart MORE, Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoHillicon Valley: Facebook considers political ad ban | Senators raise concerns over civil rights audit | Amazon reverses on telling workers to delete TikTok Amazon backtracks, says email asking employees to delete TikTok was sent in error Amazon asks employees to delete TikTok from mobile devices: report MORE and Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperCongress pulls punches on Russian bounties firestorm Senate Democrats demand to see copies of Trump's intelligence briefings on Russian bounties Overnight Defense: Top general says military must take 'hard look' at Confederate symbols on installations | Milley vows to 'get to bottom' of Russia bounty intel | Woman to join Green Berets for first time MORE.  

"This new story shows all four witnesses we Senate Democrats have requested were intimately involved and had direct knowledge of President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for Vance Meadows trying to root out suspected White House leakers by feeding them info: Axios Pressley hits DeVos over reopening schools: 'I wouldn't trust you to care for a house plant let alone my child' MORE’s decision to cut off aid in order to benefit himself," Schumer said. 

"And when you combine these new revelations with the explosive emails from Michael Duffey released last weekend, it makes the strongest case yet for a Senate trial to include the witnesses and documents we have requested," he added, referencing newly disclosed emails that showed Duffey, an official at the Office of Management and Budget, told the Pentagon to withhold Ukrainian military aid just hours after Trump's infamous July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. 

The House earlier this month voted to impeach Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Ahead of the vote, Schumer wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and called for Mulvaney, Bolton, Duffey and Blair to testify as witnesses during a trial.  

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But McConnell said that the trial should not include witnesses and has argued that lawmakers have "heard enough" amid the impeachment proceedings. Trump said in mid-December that McConnell could decide on whether there would be witnesses in the upper chamber trial. 

Robert Driscoll, a lawyer for Mulvaney, told the Times that the acting chief of staff would consider a request to testify in consultation with the White House. 

"I hope every Republican senator should read this story and explain why they would oppose our reasonable request for witnesses and documents in the Senate trial," Schumer said. "This story makes the choice even clearer: Will the Senate hold a fair trial, or will it enable a cover-up?"