Although the House of Representatives passed two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump last month, the articles still haven’t been transmitted to the Senate for a trial.
Part of the reason for this is that senior Democrats have been attempting to pressure Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) into calling additional witnesses during the next phase of the process. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) renewed that demand on Monday, this time pointing to recently-released documents as his rationale, The Hill reported.
“Simply put, in our fight to have key documents and witnesses in a Senate impeachment trial, these new revelations are a game-changer,” Schumer declared.
Schumer renews call for witnesses
“This new story shows all four witnesses we Senate Democrats have requested were intimately involved and had direct knowledge of President Trump’s decision to cut off aid in order to benefit himself,” Schumer said.
The senator was referring to records that had been released as a result of a lawsuit filed by the Center for Public Integrity. The organization had submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to obtain the information and published it last Friday.
“And when you combine these new revelations with the explosive emails from Michael Duffey released last weekend, it makes the strongest case yet for a Senate trial to include the witnesses and documents we have requested,” Schumer insisted.
Duffey is an official at the Office of Management and Budget, and newly-revealed emails suggest that he instructed the Pentagon to withhold U.S. aid to Ukraine within hours of President Trump’s July telephone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Based on guidance I have received and in light of the Administration’s plan to review assistance to Ukraine, including the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, please hold off on any additional DoD obligations of these funds, pending direction from that process,” Duffy said in a message on July 25, according to The Hil.
McConnell holds steady
“I hope every Republican senator should read this story and explain why they would oppose our reasonable request for witnesses and documents in the Senate trial,” Schumer stated.
He went on: “This story makes the choice even clearer: Will the Senate hold a fair trial, or will it enable a cover-up?”
McConnell has thus far been skeptical about the idea of calling witnesses. However, he told Fox News Radio host Brian Kilmeade that if witnesses do appear, then it won’t just be Democrats who are calling them.
“If we go down the witness path, we’re going to want the whistleblower,” McConnell said during an interview last month. “We’re going to want Hunter Biden. You can see here that this is the kind of mutual assured destruction episode that will go on for a long time.”