Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (and Democrats in general) want four witnesses to be heard during President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial, including acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former National Security Advisor John Bolton.
But Senate Majority Leader and self-described Trump-impeachment coordinator Mitch McConnell has nixed the witnesses Schumer has requested. In turn, Democrats appear to be withholding articles of impeachment to the Senate until an agreement can be made on the matter.
Schumer, speaking on The Rachel Maddow Show Thursday evening on MSNBC, explained that all that is needed is four Senate Republicans to agree to the witnesses in order to force McConnell’s hand.
“I doubt we’ll ever get McConnell” to agree to the witnesses requested, Schumer conceded. “But all we need is four Republican senators to side with us to get 51, because I have all 47 Democrats are totally on board with it then.”
“You don’t have many powers as minority leader. But the power I do have is to force a vote,” Schumer said. “And we will force a vote on all the witnesses, and all the documents.”
Senator Schumer on forcing a vote to include witnesses in Senate impeachment trial: "All we need is four Republican senators to side with us to get 51, because all 47 Democrats are totally on board with it." pic.twitter.com/OzAXRb6aGg
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) December 20, 2019
How can he be so sure? Schumer reminded his Republican colleagues who are on the fence about the issue that a majority of Americans — indeed, a majority of Republican voters as well — want the Senate trial to include his witnesses.
Citing an ABC News/Washington Post poll released earlier this week, Schumer pointed out that more than 7-in-10 Democratic voters backed his requests. “But 64 percent of Republicans said” they also wanted the witnesses heard, Schumer said. “The Republican rank-and-file never goes against Trump…64 percent are against him on this.”
Some lawmakers on the right have already expressed out loud that McConnell should acquiesce to Schumer’s requests. Rep. Francis Rooney, a Republican from Florida who voted against impeachment, said on Tuesday that McConnell shouldn’t stonewall Schumer on the subject.
“I definitely think he should,” Rooney said when asked if McConnell should relent.