Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer is demanding that Democrats be allowed to subpoena witnesses at the impeachment trial of President Trump, citing a new report from The New York Times.
Schumer said the Times report shows that top Trump administration officials have “direct knowledge” of Trump’s decision to withhold nearly $400 million in U.S. aid to Ukraine.
“Last night The New York Times published a new story detailing the machinations President Trump and his aides took to withhold military aid from Ukraine,” the New York Democrat said in a press conference on Monday.
“This new story shows all four witnesses we Senate Democrats have requested — [acting White House chief of staff] Mick Mulvaney, [former adviser] John Bolton, [Office of Management and Budget Associate Director] Michael Duffey, and [White House aide] Robert Blair — were intimately involved and had direct knowledge of President Trump’s decision to cut off aid in order to benefit himself.”
“Simply put: in our fight to have key documents and witnesses in a Senate impeachment trial, these new revelations are a game changer,” he said. “This new reporting shows that there were serious concerns raised by Trump administration officials about the propriety and legality of what the President was doing.”
Schumer cited an old TV show as a reason why Democrats should be able to call witnesses.
“As Sergeant Joe Friday said in Dragnet, ‘Just the facts ma’am.’ That’s all we want: the facts. We don’t know how these witnesses will testify. We don’t know what the documents, if we get them…our hands on them, will say. Maybe it’ll be exculpatory of President Trump or maybe it’ll be further condemning President Trump’s actions. We don’t know! But we should see them regardless of what they say,” Schumer said.
In the Times piece — headlined “Behind the Ukraine Aid Freeze: 84 Days of Conflict and Confusion” — reporters conducted interviews with “dozens of current and former administration officials, congressional aides and others” and reviewed “previously undisclosed emails and documents” and thousands of pages of impeachment testimony to compile “the most complete account yet of the 84 days from when Mr. Trump first inquired about the money to his decision in September to relent.”
Trump spoke by phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25 and asked for his help in examining a reportedly corrupt company that employed Hunter Biden, son of former vice president Joe Biden.
“So far, neither Senator [Mitch] McConnell, nor any Republican senator, has articulated a single good reason why the trial shouldn’t have these witnesses or these documents. President Trump hasn’t given a reason. McConnell and Trump do a lot of finger-pointing and name calling but they never refute why these witnesses shouldn’t come, why these documents should not be there,” Schumer said.
“So I hope every Republican senator should read this story and explains why they would oppose our reasonable request for witnesses and documents in the Senate trial. This story makes the choice even clearer: Will the Senate hold a fair trial, or will it enable a cover-up?” he said.