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Schumer: Impeachment trial will be quick, doesn't need a lot of witnesses

Schumer: Impeachment trial will be quick, doesn't need a lot of witnesses
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats urge Biden to extend moratorium on student loan payments White House draws ire of progressives amid voting rights defeat Murkowski to vote 'no' on voting rights bill MORE (D-N.Y.) said on Monday night that former President TrumpDonald TrumpIran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says 'nothing is agreed' Ivanka Trump, Kushner distance themselves from Trump claims on election: CNN Overnight Defense: Joint Chiefs chairman clashes with GOP on critical race theory | House bill introduced to overhaul military justice system as sexual assault reform builds momentum MORE's impeachment trial will be "relatively" quick, indicating that he didn't think many witnesses are needed.

"The trial will be done in a way that is fair but ... relatively quickly," Schumer told MSNBC's Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowDemocratic group launches seven-figure ad campaign on voting rights bill GOP's attacks on Fauci at center of pandemic message Fauci hits back at GOP criticism over emails: 'It's all nonsense' MORE, his first national TV interview since becoming Senate majority leader.

The Senate took a first step toward the eventual impeachment trial on Monday when the House impeachment managers walked the article to the Senate floor. Senators will be sworn in as jurors on Tuesday.

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Under a deal worked out by Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCan Manchin answer his predecessor's call on voting rights? Biden at Sen. John Warner's funeral: He 'gave me confidence' Democrats' narrow chance to retain control after 2022 MORE (R-Ky.) on the pre-trial process, the impeachment trial will start during the week of Feb. 8.

But the impeachment managers and Senate Democrats have been tight-lipped about how long they think a trial needs to last or if they need to call witnesses. Trump's first impeachment trial lasted 21 days, though senators have said they don't expect the second trial will last as long.

"I don't think there's a need for a whole lot of witnesses," Schumer told MSNBC, adding that he expected the trial to be "fair" but that Democrats would "not let the Republicans be dilatory."

Schumer added that no decision had been made on whether there would be witnesses. In the 2020 trial, Democrats pushed for additional witnesses, a request blocked by Republicans, but they've argued that witnesses aren't needed now because the riot played out in public.

The House made history earlier this month when it voted to impeach Trump for a second time, making him the first president to be impeached twice. The article charged him for high crimes and misdemeanors for “willfully inciting violence against the Government of the United States.”

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Trump addressed a crowd near the White House on Jan. 6, repeating his false claims of widespread voter fraud and warning them that if "you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

Trump encouraged his supporters to march to the Capitol, where then-Vice President Pence and lawmakers were counting the Electoral College vote. Though Trump vowed that he was going to the Capitol with them, he went back to the White House.

To convict Trump in the Senate, Democrats will need the support of 17 GOP senators, assuming every Democratic senator votes to convict.