Schumer hails McConnell's concessions on trial rules but says witnesses is bigger issue

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerBarr to testify before House Judiciary panel Graham won't call Barr to testify over Roger Stone sentencing recommendation Roger Stone witness alleges Trump targeted prosecutors in 'vile smear job' MORE (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday hailed two concessions Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Trump declares war on hardworking Americans with new budget request The Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in MORE (R-Ky.) made on the resolution setting the rules for President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussian sanctions will boomerang States, cities rethink tax incentives after Amazon HQ2 backlash A Presidents Day perspective on the nature of a free press MORE’s impeachment trial, arguing it shows the GOP leader is feeling political heat. 

“The public is understanding how unfair Senator McConnell’s trial rules are and Republican Senators are beginning to tell him to change them. The real test will be if they pressure Senator McConnell to allow witnesses and documents,” Schumer said in a statement.

Separately, Schumer told reporters, “The pressure that we have put on them and on Republican senators has gotten them to change.” 

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McConnell made two last-minute changes to the draft of the organizing resolution he circulated Monday evening, which Schumer had slammed before the trial as “nothing short of a national disgrace.”

The GOP leader agreed to give House prosecutors more time to make their opening arguments — three days instead of two — and added language to allow evidence compiled in the House impeachment inquiry to be automatically submitted into the Senate’s trial record.

He made them after receiving pushback from moderate Republicans, including Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Toward 'Super Tuesday' — momentum, money and delegates Trump unleashed: President moves with a free hand post-impeachment MORE (Maine) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGOP senators offering bill to cement business provision in Trump tax law Mnuchin defends Treasury regulations on GOP tax law Bipartisan lawmakers introduce bill to combat cyberattacks on state and local governments MORE (Ohio), at a lunch meeting Tuesday afternoon.

“Senator Collins and others raised concerns about the 24 hours of opening statements in 2 days and the admission of the House transcript in the record,” Annie Clark, a spokeswoman for Collins, said. 

“Her position has been that the trial should follow the Clinton model as much as possible. She thinks these changes are a significant improvement,” Clark added.