Schumer: 4 Republicans Must Join Democrats to Ensure Fair Trial

January 5, 2020 Updated: January 5, 2020
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A fair impeachment trial will only take place if four Republican senators break with their party to join Democrats to shape the proceeding, according to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Sunday.

“Four Republican senators can join us,” Schumer told ABC’s “This Week.” “We have the ability to require votes on the four witnesses we have asked for, whether there’s an agreement or not. We have the ability to ask for the documents. And I hope, pray, and believe there’s a decent chance that four Republicans will join us.”

Schumer and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have publicly grappled over the rules of the trial, on whether to call in witnesses, and on the possibility of reviewing any new evidence in the trial. The House voted Dec. 18 to impeach President Donald Trump on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, with Democrats alleging that the president misused his office by pressuring Ukraine to investigate a political rival, Joe Biden, in exchange for congressionally approved military aid, which Trump and Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelensky have both denied.

As to who those four Republicans might be, it’s not yet clear. Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) have publicly broken with Trump on several issues. However, there is a possibility that several Democratic senators will join Republicans.

Republicans have a 53 to 47 majority in the Senate. To vote on the rules, the Senate needs a simple majority, but to remove a president, a 67-vote supermajority is required.

The Epoch Times has reached out to McConnell’s office for comment on Schumer’s assertions. McConnell has made clear he’s not interested in giving in to any demands from Democrats, while another top Trump defender, Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), told Fox News on Sunday that despite voting to use the same Senate rules for impeachent of Trump as were used for President Bill Clinton, Schumer “[is] now pointing to those same rules, calling them absurd and saying they would be unfair.”

Republicans have also accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) of trying to play political games by holding the two articles of impeachment in the House, but Schumer argued that he views it as a sound strategy.

“Speaker Pelosi has done a very good job here. She has said that she will send the articles of impeachment when she believes she can,” he said on the ABC program. “If she had sent them right away,” Schumer said, “McConnell could have well just voted for dismissal the day before or after Christmas.”

The New York Democrat also said the Senate trial would be a sham and predicted blowback for Trump and Republicans in Congress.

“If the President is acquitted through a sham trial, through a mock trial, where there are no witnesses, where everything is covered up, that will not stand him well with the American people and it will not stand the Republicans with the American people,” he said.

Regardless, McConnell told his fellow senators on Friday that he thinks the two articles will be heading to the Senate soon.

“By spring, Speaker Pelosi told the country, ‘Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country,’” he said, speaking on the Senate floor in Washington. “That was the speaker less than a year ago.”