SPONSORED:

McConnell proposes compressed schedule for impeachment trial

House impeachment managers will have 24 hours over two days to make their opening arguments when they begin to present their case against President TrumpDonald TrumpClinton, Bush, Obama reflect on peaceful transition of power on Biden's Inauguration Day Arizona Republican's brothers say he is 'at least partially to blame' for Capitol violence Biden reverses Trump's freeze on .4 billion in funds MORE to the Senate Wednesday, according to a resolution circulated by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Biden's inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fear McConnell faces conservative backlash over Trump criticism MORE (R-Ky.). 

President Trump’s team similarly will have two days to present their arguments and then senators will have a chance to ask questions and consider subpoenas of witnesses. 

The resolution, as expected, does not require additional witnesses to be subpoenaed and does not allow House prosecutors to admit evidence into the Senate trial record until after the opening arguments are heard.

ADVERTISEMENT

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSchumer becomes new Senate majority leader US Chamber of Commerce to Biden, Congress: Business community 'ready to help' Why pretend senators can 'do impartial justice'? MORE (D-N.Y.) quickly pushed back and vowed to force votes on amendments.

“Sen. McConnell’s resolution is nothing short of a national disgrace,” Schumer said in a statement Monday afternoon. 

Both sides will have 24 hours to make their first round of arguments — the same amount of time House impeachment managers and Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonClinton, Bush, Obama reflect on peaceful transition of power on Biden's Inauguration Day Trump's pardons harshly criticized by legal experts Senate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official MORE’s lawyers received in 1999, but on a more compressed time schedule than required more than 20 years ago. 

The resolution includes language favored by Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP senators praise Biden's inauguration speech LIVE INAUGURATION COVERAGE: Biden signs executive orders; press secretary holds first briefing The Memo: Biden prepares for sea of challenges MORE (R-Maine) and other GOP moderates requiring a debate and vote on subpoenaing new witnesses and documents.

Sen. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderCongress addressed surprise medical bills, but the issue is not resolved Trump renominates Judy Shelton in last-ditch bid to reshape Fed Senate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes MORE (R-Tenn.), who worked with McConnell and Collins to modify the resolution, said it “guarantees a vote on whether we need additional evidence at the appropriate time.”

A Senate GOP leadership aide noted that prosecutors in the Clinton trial didn’t use all of their allotted time and finished their opening arguments within three days.

Schumer argues that forcing House managers to cram their opening arguments into a two-day window will force them to present on the Senate floor well into the evening and possibly past midnight.

The House managers will be allowed to begin their arguments 1 p.m. Wednesday.  

ADVERTISEMENT

“McConnell’s resolution stipulates that key facts be delivered in the wee hours of the night simply because he doesn’t want the American people to hear them,” Schumer said.

The Senate GOP leadership aide said in 1999 the House prosecutors and the president’s defense team each used fewer than 12 hours over a three-day period.

“This resolution provides the same time but more structure for the arguments,” the aide said.

The resolution also provides 16 hours for senators to ask questions.

In another departure from the 1999 organizing resolution, McConnell’s measure does not allow evidence from the House impeachment inquiry to be entered into the Senate trial record until after the question of additional witnesses and documents receives consideration.

The GOP aide explained McConnell did this in response to Trump’s lawyers not having the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses at the House hearings.

“The White House was denied due process throughout the 12 weeks of partisan House proceedings,” the source said.

If the Senate votes at the end of phase one against subpoenaing witnesses, then it will not be possible to consider additional motions on specific witnesses, according to McConnell’s resolution. 

Democrats want to subpoena former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonPence, other GOP officials expected to skip Trump send-off NSA places former GOP political operative in top lawyer position after Pentagon chief's reported order After insurrection: The national security implications MORE, acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyConsumer bureau director resigns after Biden's inauguration FDA chief says he was 'disgusted' by Capitol riots, considered resigning Biden consumer bureau pick could take over agency on Inauguration Day MORE, senior White House adviser Robert Blair and senior Office of Management Budget official Michael Duffey.

The Senate will vote on the resolution Tuesday.

Schumer called on moderate Republican colleagues to reconsider McConnell’s aggressive timeline.

“Any senator that votes for the McConnell resolution will be voting to hide information and evidence,” he said in his statement.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I will be offering amendments to address the many flaws in this deeply unfair proposal and to subpoena the witnesses and documents we have requested,” he added.

 Updated at 7:32 p.m.