Schumer: Trump's team made case for new witnesses 'even stronger'

Schumer: Trump's team made case for new witnesses 'even stronger'
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerLawmakers introduce bill to invest 0 billion in science, tech research The Democrats' out-party advantage in 2020 Democratic leaders say Trump testing strategy is 'to deny the truth' about lack of supplies MORE (D-N.Y.) knocked President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump marks 'very sad milestone' of 100K coronavirus deaths DOJ: George Floyd death investigation a 'top priority' Lifting our voices — and votes MORE's legal team on Saturday over its defense of Trump in the impeachment trial, saying its arguments made "no sense" and strengthened the Democratic case for witnesses.

Schumer, speaking after the first day of arguments from the White House counsel, noted that Trump's legal team argued there were no eyewitnesses for the Democrats' case, while Democrats want to call individuals with firsthand knowledge to testify.

"The president's counsel did something that they did not intend: They made a really compelling case for why the Senate should call witnesses and documents," Schumer told reporters. "Today, we thank the president's counsel for one thing. They made our case even stronger."

ADVERTISEMENT

The Senate is expected to hold a vote next week on whether additional witnesses or documents will be allowed in the Senate trial. Democrats will need four Republicans to vote with them to secure additional testimony and materials.

Schumer on Saturday stopped short of saying he thought they would be able to win over enough Republicans, describing it as a "hard road."

"Do I think it's easy to get four Republicans? Absolutely not. Do I think we have a chance ... and after today, maybe even a little more so?" Schumer asked. "Yes, I do."

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyRomney defends Joe Scarborough, staffer's widower: 'Enough already' The Hill's Campaign Report: GOP beset by convention drama Loeffler runs ad tying Doug Collins to Pelosi, Sanders, Biden MORE (Utah) is the only Republican who has specifically said he wants to call former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonHave the courage to recognize Taiwan McConnell says Obama administration 'did leave behind' pandemic plan Trump company lawyer warned Michael Cohen not to write 'tell-all' book: report MORE and potentially others.

Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiTrump administration gives renewables more time to take advantage of tax credits GOP senators urge Trump not to restrict guest worker visas Republicans push for help for renewable energy, fossil fuel industries MORE (R-Alaska) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTrump administration gives renewables more time to take advantage of tax credits Soured on Fox, Trump may be seeking new propaganda outlet The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Former NIC Director Greg Treverton rips US response; WHO warns of 'immediate second peak' if countries reopen too quickly MORE (R-Maine) have both signaled they are open to calling witnesses but have argued specific decisions should wait until after opening arguments and questions from senators. 

ADVERTISEMENT

It's unclear who could give Democrats their fourth GOP vote. Republican leadership and their aides have predicted that a 50-50 vote would fail.

Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderSoured on Fox, Trump may be seeking new propaganda outlet Senators weigh traveling amid coronavirus ahead of Memorial Day McConnell gives two vulnerable senators a boost with vote on outdoor recreation bill MORE (R-Tenn.), who is retiring but close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell urges people to wear masks: 'There's no stigma' Frustration builds in key committee ahead of Graham subpoena vote  Lack of child care poses major hurdle as businesses reopen MORE (R-Ky.), has been tight-lipped about how he will vote on calling witnesses. 

The White House team on Saturday offered a brief two-hour preview of its defense against the two House-passed articles of impeachment. One of their arguments was that the witnesses who testified before the House did not have firsthand knowledge of the discussions around the decision to hold up the Ukraine aid.

Trump's attorneys argued that the president withheld the military aid because of concerns about burden sharing and corruption and that he didn't tie the assistance to the investigations.

A number of witnesses called by Democrats testified that it was their understanding the administration linked the aid to the investigations, including William Taylor, then the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, and Gordon SondlandGordon SondlandTop Democrat slams Trump's new EU envoy: Not 'a political donor's part-time job' Trump names new EU envoy, filling post left vacant by impeachment witness Sondland Ocasio-Cortez: Republicans are prioritizing big chains in coronavirus relief  MORE, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union. 

Updated: 2:09 p.m.