Schumer blasts GOP votes over witnesses, documents at trial

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Lawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response | Top official warns virus appears inevitable in US | Democrats block two Senate abortion bills Lawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response Democrats block two Senate abortion bills MORE (N.Y.) said unified Republican opposition to 11 amendments that Democrats proposed to subpoena witnesses and documents and change procedure show they are not interested in having a fair impeachment trial.

“If there’s one thing we learned from the series of votes on the Senate floor it’s that Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans don’t want a fair trial that considers all the evidence,” he said, referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRepublicans give Barr vote of confidence Democrats block two Senate abortion bills VA could lead way for nation on lower drug pricing MORE (R-Ky.).

“On four separate votes, every Senate Republican voted against requesting relevant documents for the trial. On three other votes, every Senate Republican voted against calling relevant witnesses before the Senate,” he added.


Schumer delivered his remarks Wednesday, hours after the Senate heard debates until almost 2 a.m. over whether additional witnesses and documents should be called before the trial.

Only one Republican, Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Lawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response | Top official warns virus appears inevitable in US | Democrats block two Senate abortion bills Democrats block two Senate abortion bills Trump creates new headaches for GOP with top intelligence pick MORE (Maine), defected on a vote during the marathon debate over the rules.

Collins was the only Republican to vote with Democrats on a proposal to give the House impeachment managers more time to respond on Wednesday to motions filed in the morning. It was defeated by a vote of 52 to 48.

The organizing resolution adopted by the Senate early Wednesday gave parties only two hours to respond to motions filed at 9 a.m., but it ended up being moot, as no side took the opportunity to act by the deadline.

Separately, the Senate voted down a series of Democratic attempts to subpoena former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonSchumer on Trump intel shakeup: 'Disgrace,' 'closer to a banana republic' Trump directly sought to block publication of Bolton's book: WaPo 'Parasite' studio fires back after Trump criticism: 'He can't read' MORE, acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyWhite House preparing to ask Congress for funds to combat coronavirus: report Tucker Carlson calls out Mick Mulvaney on immigration remarks: 'Dishonest and stupid' Trump furious after officials allowed Americans with coronavirus to fly home with other passengers: report MORE, senior White House adviser Robert Blair and senior Office of Management and Budget official Michael Duffey.


Republicans also struck down an amendment to bar the White House from selectively leaking documents and to guarantee the consideration of additional witnesses and documents at the end of the trial, instead of merely having a guaranteed debate on the subjects.

“When we offered an amendment to actually guarantee votes on witnesses and documents, after the question period, after the presentations, instead of one vague procedural motion, every single republican said no,” Schumer said.

He also hit Republicans for defeating an amendment by Sen. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenOvernight Energy: EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Trump budget calls for slashing funds for climate science centers | House Dems urge banks not to fund drilling in Arctic refuge Democratic senators criticize plan that could expand Arctic oil and gas development Senate Dems blast Barr for 'clear violation' of duty in Stone case, urge him to resign MORE (D-Md.) that would have left the question of calling relevant witnesses and documents in the hands of Chief Justice John Roberts, who is presiding over the trial.

“The bottom line is this, the very first thing the American people saw when they tuned into the impeachment trial of President TrumpDonald John TrumpWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Democrats duke it out in most negative debate so far MORE was Republican senators voting against having a fair trial with relevant evidence,” Schumer said. 

GOP leaders maintained heading into Tuesday's marathon debate that they had the votes to force through the rules, with McConnell emphasizing the Democratic demands for documents and witnesses could be addressed later in the trial.

“All of these amendments under the resolution could be dealt with at the appropriate time,” he said at multiple points during the chamber’s debate.