On Monday night, Senate Democrats blasted Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) over his proposed rules for President Trump’s impeachment trial, accusing the GOP leader of a “cover-up.”
McConnell unveiled the text of his resolution on Monday night. In addition to limiting the total number of days both sides get for opening arguments, the rules do not allow evidence from the House impeachment inquiry to be entered into the Senate trial record until after the question of additional witnesses and documents receives consideration.
The rules also stipulate that if a simple majority of the Senate rejects calling witnesses, then “no party or Senator will be permitted to move to subpoena any witness or documents.”
Democratic Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) called McConnell’s proposal a “national disgrace,” and vowed to try to change it on the floor on Tuesday.
“After reading his resolution, it’s clear Senator McConnell is hell-bent on making it much more difficult to get witnesses and documents and intent on rushing the trial through,” Schumer said in a statement.
Schumer added that the rules would turn the looming Senate trial into a “cover up,” and warned that any senator who supports it “will be voting to hide information and evidence from the American people.”
Other Democratic Senators took to Twitter to denounce McConnell’s rules.
“Let’s be 100% clear – the only reason to restrict the impeachment managers to 24 hours over 2 days is to make sure the evidence is presented in the dead of the night, when no one is watching. It’s not about finding the truth or honoring our duty It’s all about the coverup,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) tweeted.
He added that “these are not the Clinton rules. They are the McConnell rules, designed around a central goal of whitewashing the President’s corruption.”
Let’s be 100% clear – the only reason to restrict the impeachment managers to 24 hours over 2 days is to make sure the evidence is presented in the dead of the night, when no one is watching.
It’s not about finding the truth or honoring our duty.
It’s all about the coverup.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) January 21, 2020
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said in a tweet: “These guys REALLY don’t want documents and witnesses and we should stop pretending that we don’t know why.”
These guys REALLY don’t want documents and witnesses and we should stop pretending that we don’t know why.
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) January 20, 2020
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) warned that senators who oppose witnesses will be held “accountable for their votes tomorrow.”
“It’s clear McConnell and Trump want to ignore sworn evidence. And they don’t want firsthand witnesses to Trump’s misconduct,” she tweeted.
It’s clear McConnell and Trump want to ignore sworn evidence. And they don’t want firsthand witnesses to Trump’s misconduct.
But the American people want a fair trial and they will hold every senator accountable for their votes tomorrow. https://t.co/qKU96Le6zm
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) January 21, 2020
Schumer vowed that Democrats will force votes on the floor on Tuesday to “address the many flaws in this deeply unfair proposal and to subpoena the witnesses and documents we have requested.”
Democrats are expected to force votes to compel the administration to hand over documents related to the delayed Ukraine aid and requests for four witnesses including former national security adviser John Bolton and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.
But McConnell is likely to have the 51 votes to block Democrats from changing the rules resolution on the floor on Tuesday, and ultimately enact it over their objections.