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 SchumerTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Democratic mega-donor reaching out to Pelosi, Schumer in bid to stop Sanders: report Trump administration freezes funding for study of hurricane barriers: report MORE (D-N.Y.) knocked President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump nods at reputation as germaphobe during coronavirus briefing: 'I try to bail out as much as possible' after sneezes 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."

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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 RomneyOrange County declaring local health emergency in response to coronavirus Why Bernie Sanders won the debate Lawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response MORE (Utah) is the only Republican who has specifically said he wants to call former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonOvernight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Bolton's lost leverage Azar downplays chance Trump will appoint coronavirus czar MORE and potentially others.

Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders takes incoming during intense SC debate Overnight 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 Overnight Energy: Critics pile on Trump plan to roll back major environmental law | Pick for Interior No. 2 official confirmed | JPMorgan Chase to stop loans for fossil fuel drilling in the Arctic MORE (R-Alaska) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders takes incoming during intense SC debate Overnight 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 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. 

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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 AlexanderLawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response Bill Barr is trying his best to be Trump's Roy Cohn The Trump administration's harmful and immoral attack on children MORE (R-Tenn.), who is retiring but close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Push for national popular vote movement gets boost from conservatives To avoid November catastrophe, Democrats have to KO Sanders 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 SondlandHouse wants documents on McEntee's security clearances Trump says he wants officials who are 'loyal to our country' Former US ambassador Yovanovitch lands a book deal: report MORE, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union. 

Updated: 2:09 p.m.