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Schumer letter reveals the four witnesses he wants to call at Senate impeachment trial

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f9/Sen._Charles_Schumer%2C_%28D-N.Y%29_makes_opening_remarks_during_a_hearing_attended_by_a_panel_of_Department_of_Homeland_Security_senior_officials.jpg and https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/8567872816
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D), Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) … Credits: Google images, Glenn Fawcett, Gage Skidmore

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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sent Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a letter requesting four senior Trump administration witnesses be called to testify in a likely impeachment trial in the Senate in January.

“The trial must be one that not only hears all of the evidence and adjudicates the case fairly; it must also pass the fairness test with the American people. That is the great challenge for the Senate in the coming weeks.”

Anyone who has been around the block more than once or twice understands how irony is lost on some people. But it doesn’t take gray hair to grasp the fact that Democrats have embraced paradox as an operational tactic … to the point of absurdity.

The Democrats are now demanding a fair congressional hearing where they can call and interrogate White House witnesses without limit, days after they refused to allow Republicans to call any witnesses in the House impeachment process.

Schumer proposes subpoenas for acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney; Robert Blair, an adviser to Mulvaney; former National Security Adviser John Bolton; and Michael Duffey, a senior official at the Office of Management and Budget. He wrote that in addition, he would be “open to hearing the testimony of additional witnesses.”

According to the Washington Post, McConnell is likely to resist calling “high-wattage witnesses” such as the four in Schumer’s proposal, or others such as Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, and the whistleblower as demanded by President Trump.

The paper reported: “McConnell has warned privately that a battle over witnesses would be ‘mutually assured destruction.’”

The Schumer letter urged that each witness testify for up to eight hours and that documents be provided that “we believe will shed additional light on the administration’s decision-making” with regard to $400 million in military assistance to Ukraine–a focus of the impeachment process in the House.

“Conducting the trial according to this plan will also allow the public to have confidence in the process and will demonstrate that the Senate can put aside partisan concerns and fulfill its constitutional duty,” Schumer wrote, oblivious to the irony dripping off each word.

Republicans have been arguing that a short Senate trial without witnesses would avoid the Senate becoming a chaotic partisan circus.

In further details outlined in the minority leader’s letter, in advance of a meeting that will take place between Schumer and McConnell regarding the specifics of how a trial would be run, he wrote: “I propose that pre-trial housekeeping measures be adopted on Monday, January 6, 2020; that the swearing-in of the Chief Justice and Senators occur on Tuesday, January 7, 2020; that after a period for preparation and submission of trial briefs, the House Managers be recognized on Thursday, January 9, 2020 to make their presentation for a period of not more than 24 hours, followed by the presentation by the President’s counsel, also for a period of not more than 24 hours.”

McConnell recently told reporters that the Senate trial could go one of two ways in terms of format … “It could go down the path of calling witnesses and basically having another trial or it could decide — and again, 51 members could make that decision — that they’ve heard enough and believe they know what would happen and could move to vote on the two articles of impeachment.”

“Those are the options,” he said. “No decisions have been made yet.”

“Everything I do during this, I am coordinating with White House counsel,” McConnell told Sean Hannity of Fox News last week.

Victor Rantala

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