Schumer: Impeachment trial will be quick, doesn’t need a lot of witnesses
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Monday night that former President Trump’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 Maddow, 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.
Under a deal worked out by Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (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.”
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.
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