Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rebuffed Sen. Chuck Schumer’s request to call four witnesses ahead of a likely Senate impeachment trial.
“We don’t create impeachments, Mr. President. We judge them,” McConnell said on Tuesday. “The House chose this road. It is their duty to investigate. It’s their duty to meet the very high bar for undoing a national election. As Speaker Pelosi herself once said, it is the House’s obligation to, quote, ‘build an ironclad case to act.'”
“If they fail, they fail. It is not the Senate’s job to leap into the breach and search desperately for ways to get to guilty. That would hardly be impartial justice,” the Kentucky senator added.
Schumer sent a letter to McConnell on Sunday evening, outlining a series of proposals for the Senate’s impeachment trial.
McConnell responds to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's request for trial witnesses: "The Senate is meant to act as judge and jury to hear a trial, not to rerun the entire fact-finding investigation because angry partisans rushed sloppily through it" https://t.co/DS084IPyhx pic.twitter.com/dWspD4dvZA
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) December 17, 2019
“Senate Democrats believe strongly, and I trust Senate Republicans agree, that this trial must be one that is fair, that considers all of the relevant facts, and that exercises the Senate’s ‘sole Power of Impeachment’ under the Constitution with integrity and dignity,” the Senate minority leader wrote to McConnell.
McConnell and Schumer are expected to meet this week to negotiate the details of how the impeachment trial will proceed. If they can’t reach an agreement, the Senate will hold a vote, requiring the majority support of 51 senators, at each step of the process.
In his letter, Schumer requested McConnell call on four witnesses who declined to testify before House impeachment committees, Axios reported.
Schumer named former national security adviser John Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, as well as Michael Duffey, an associate director of national security for the Office of Management and Budget, and Mulvaney adviser Robert Blair, in his letter.
Schumer told reporters on Monday he expects to “have the support from Democrats and Republicans” to subpoena the witnesses.
He would need four Republicans to cross party lines in order to obtain the needed 51 votes.
The New York senator asked for subpoenas of documents, which “will shed additional light on the administration’s decision-making regarding the delay in security assistance funding to Ukraine and its requests for certain investigations to be announced by the government of Ukraine.”
The 17-point letter also laid out a proposed timeline for impeachment trial proceedings.
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham reacted to Schumer’s letter by mocking his appeal to “fairness.”
“’Let us hope that fairness will prevail’ a laughable quote from @SenSchumer this AM….after the dems release an ‘impeachment report’ in the middle of the night. Thankfully the people of this country continue to see the partisan sham that this is,” Grisham tweeted.
Commenters on social media had similarly blunt notions regarding how Republicans should respond to Schumer’s “list of demands”:
Mitch McConnell's office has received Chuckie Schumer's list of "demands" for the Senate Impeachment trial!! pic.twitter.com/pq4tK7mTYn
— Tom Thurman (@JTomThurman1) December 16, 2019
“Talk about hypocrites! Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is actually giving demands & witness list for the Senate Hearings on Impeachment. Honestly, I would tell Chuckie to take his demands & list, tell Adam Schiff to bend over & then place them where the sun doesn’t shine!” tweeted conservative political activist Ernie Penley.