Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer Tuesday accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of working with President Donald Trump "hook, line, and sinker" and blasted his resolution for impeachment trial rules as a plan that "erodes our democracy."
"Everything in these rules is rigged," the New York Democrat told MSNBC's "Morning Joe," adding that the plan is a "far cry from the '99 rules" or the procedure used under former President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial.
"McConnell was using that as a subterfuge to avoid witnesses and documents immediately and now we see even those rules which don't really apply here...they are so afraid, so afraid, of the facts coming out that want things presented at two, three in the morning? Give me a break," said Schumer.
McConnell's proposed resolution says that evidence from the House's impeachment inquiry can't be put in the Senate trial record until after the questions concerning additional witnesses and documents receive consideration.
There will be four days of opening statements, with 24 hours for each side over two days, according to McConnell's resolution. After that, senators will be allowed up to 16 hours to question the prosecution and defense, followed by four hours of debate. Votes on calling other witnesses will only be taken after that.
By giving 24 hours for each side over two days, that means testimony will come in some cases late at night, which Democrats say will hinder the public from observing it.
"Leader McConnell has just gone along with President Trump's desire to cover up this trial," said Schumer. "This resolution creates a trial that is as rushed with as little evidence as possible and done in the dark of night...If they were so confident of their case, if President Trump were, if McConnell were, why wouldn't they want it in broad daylight? Why are they trying to do things at 2 in the morning and saying existing trial (evidence) can't be put in the record and we can't have new witnesses or new documents? This is appalling."
The only "real power" the Senate has to respond to a president who has "dramatically overreached" is impeachment, said Schumer, but if the process becomes "a farce" through McConnell, that is a concern, said Schumer.
"I worry about what this president will do in the next 10 months and what future presidents would do," said Schumer. "It erodes our democracy."
He added that Democrats will "force votes" on witnesses and documents and to try to "undo the most egregious things" McConnell has done in his resolution.
"The claims of McConnell are wrong," said Schumer. "They tried to put as many barriers in the way of voting for witnesses and documents...we hope for the sake of the republic that four Republicans join us in opposing him. That is not too much to ask at something as important as this."
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