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Schumer Criticizes McConnell’s Impeachment Trial Rules Proposal

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (right) listens as Sen. Richard Blumenthal speaks to journalists after the beginning of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill, January 16, 2020. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

A copy of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R., Ky.) proposal for Senate impeachment trial procedures, obtained by reporters on Thursday, was criticized by Democrats who charge the proposal prevents them from bringing evidence and witnesses to trial.

The resolution contains a proposal to vote on a motion, “whether it shall be in order to consider and debate under the impeachment rules any motion to subpoena witnesses or documents.” A GOP Senate aide told CNN that the language indicated that if the Senate votes down such a motion, neither the impeachment managers nor the President’s legal team, not even Senators, would be able to bring witnesses or documents to the trial.

“We are gratified that the draft resolution protects the President’s rights to a fair trial,” commented White House legislative aide Eric Ueland. “We look forward to presenting a vigorous defense of the President on the facts and the process as quickly as possible and seeking an acquittal as swiftly as possible.”

“It’s clear Sen. McConnell is hell-bent on making it much more difficult to get witnesses and documents and intent on rushing the trial through,” said Schumer in response to the proposal. “On something as important as impeachment, Senator McConnell’s resolution is nothing short of a national disgrace.”

The change would be a departure from the parameters of the Clinton impeachment trial, in which evidence obtained by the House was automatically admitted to the Senate.

President Trump on Thursday left the White House for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he will be during the start of the Senate trial on Tuesday.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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