Sen. Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat in the Republican-controlled Senate, voiced criticism toward Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday, describing his actions as deliberately trying to rush the Trump impeachment trial to benefit the president.
Schumer, in speaking with reporters, described what Democrats (and Americans themselves, as polls have shown) wanted from the trial: evidence entered in, and witness testimony from relevant actors who have additional information about President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
McConnell, however, is obstructing efforts to include those items, Schumer said.
“I publicly offered to delay some of the votes until today to spare everyone from staying late” on Tuesday night, Schumer explained, “but Sen. McConnell was so unwilling to let the trial of President Trump go on for one session longer than he had planned, he declined to delay any votes.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer: "It seems the only reason Sen. McConnell refused to move votes back a day is because it would interfere with the timeline he promised the president."
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) January 22, 2020
Schumer continued with his complaints toward the Senate Majority Leader:
“It seems the only reason Sen. McConnell refused to move votes back a day is because it would interfere with the timeline he promised the president. Not what’s a fair trial, not what’s letting the American people hear what they have to hear, but just what President Trump, the defendant here, wanted.”
There is indeed a tight window that McConnell may be trying to stay within in order to deliver a speedy trial for the president — finishing it up just a few days before Trump’s annual State of the Union address, which the president could use the Senate dismissal as a rallying cry within his speech.
According to Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire, there will be three days of arguments from House managers to make their case for indictment, as well as three days for Trump’s legal team to defend the president’s actions. There will then be two days for questions from Senators, after which a possible vote on requesting new witnesses and documents could come about.
If all goes according to McConnell’s plans, and new witnesses or documents aren’t voted for, the impeachment trial in the Senate could end on January 31 or February 1. The State of the Union is set to happen on February 4.