Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) rejected Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) request to have new witnesses testify as part of the upper chamber’s likely impeachment trial, stating he is opposed to conducting a “fishing expedition.”
“The House chose this road. It is their duty to investigate,” said McConnell in a floor speech Tuesday morning. “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,” he added.
Further, the Kentucky Republican hinted that the Senate will move to dismiss the impeachment articles against President Trump following opening arguments in the likely trial.
On Sunday, Schumer wrote in a letter to McConnell that Democrats want to invite four current and former Trump administration officials to testify, listing: Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, former Nation Security advisor John Bolton, Senior White House Chief of Staff advisor Robert Blair and Michael Duffey, an OMB official.
He said the Democrats would be open to hearing from additional witnesses with knowledge concerning the delay of security funds to Ukraine in exchange for the country investigating Trump’s political rival former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
“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,” said Schumer. “This trial must be one that not only hears all of the evidence and adjudicates the case fairly; it must also pass the fairness test with the American people.”
He also proposed for pre-trial housekeeping to begin Jan. 6, for chief justice and senators to be sworn-in Jan. 7 and for House mangers to make their presentations Jan. 9, which would be followed by the presentation by the president’s counsel.
Senators would have eight hours to question each side followed by a period of six hours equally divided between the House managers and the president’s lawyers for final arguments that would be followed by a 24-hour period for senators to deliberate before voting on the articles of impeachment, Schumer proposed.
Though the New York Democrat is pushing for additional witnesses, one individual he believes should not be a part of the Senate trial is Hunter Biden, who has faced increased levels of scrutiny due to allegations of corruption for his past dealings in Ukraine. The younger Biden previously served on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy giant, while his father was vice president, despite his lack of expertise in the sector. He reportedly was paid up to $83,000 monthly for his role.
‘No one, not a single person I’ve heard, even those who want Hunter Biden, have even alleged that he has knowledge of the fact-case the House is presenting. This shouldn’t be for Democrats to bring in there favorite conspiracy theories and Republicans to bring in theres. This is an august and solemn proceeding,” Schumer told CNN Monday. “It’s a very important proceeding. These four witnesses have knowledge of the facts. If Mitch McConnell or any other Republican say witness Y or witness C have specific knowledge of what happened, of course I would think they should be able to testify.”
“They have not shown a single bit of evidence that Hunter Biden can answer any of these facts. He’s a distraction,” he added.
The UPI contributed to this report.