Schumer: If President Trump Is So Confident That He Did Nothing Wrong By Withholding Aid To Ukraine, He Would Let Michael Duffey, Others Testify And Produce Requested DocumentsDecember 22, 2019
Schumer Says Newly Unearthed Emails From Key Trump Admin Officials Raise Two Important Questions: If There's Nothing Wrong With Withholding The Aid, Why Didn't Mr. Duffey Want Anyone To Know About What He Was Doing?
Schumer Also Asks From Whom Did Mr. Duffey Get the Order and Why Did He Do It?
New York, NY – Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer today spoke at a press conference in New York City calling for a full, fair and honest impeachment trial in the Senate. Below is a rough transcript of Senator Schumer’s remarks:
For days, I have been demanding that we have a full, fair, and honest impeachment trial when the Senate proceeds with the trial. President Trump has said he wants due process. He's said that repeatedly. Well, due process means the right to answer your accuser. And the Senate is yearning to give President Trump due process, which means that documents and witnesses should come forward.
What is a trial with no witnesses and no documents? It's a sham trial. And that's why feel so strongly that there ought to be witnesses and documents. We made a very reasonable request. Equal time for each side. President Trump and his lawyers can have the same amount of time to question the witnesses and talk about the documents as the House Democratic panel that's coming forward with us. There will be no off topic questions, n extraneous issues, it would be very, very fair.
Thus far, the President and Mitch McConnell have resisted. But yesterday, we got new evidence about how important having these witnesses are. Some documents came forward under a freedom of information request that were put forward by Michael Duffey. He's the Associate Director for National Security of the Office of Managing Budget. And he happens to be one of the four witnesses we had already asked for.
So far, Senator McConnell and President Trump have come up with no good reason why there shouldn't be witnesses, why there shouldn't be documents. We don't know what the witnesses will say. We don't know how the documents will read. They might exonerate President Trump, or they might further incriminate him. But the truth should come out on something as important as an impeachment.
Well this new information is rather explosive. Thanks to the Freedom of Information request by the Center for Public Integrity and in order of - by the Federal judge, dozens of emails came out.
And here's what one of them showed: 91 minutes after President Trump called Ukraine President Zelensky on July 25th, Michael Duffey a top Trump Administration official sent an email ordering the military assistance to Ukraine be withheld. 91 minutes after.
I'll say it again: Here's what one of the emails showed. 91 minutes after President Trump's July 25th call to President Zelensky in which he asked for a favor, Michael Duffey, a top Trump Administration official, sent an email ordering that the military assistance be withheld, and that that order be hush, hush and no one know about it. What were they hiding? What were they afraid of?
Here is the email. Some of it's redacted for intelligence purposes. Here's exactly what Mr. Duffey wrote in his email: “Based on guidance I have received and in light of the Administration's plan to review assistance to Ukraine, including the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, please hold off on any additional DoD obligations of these funds, pending direction from that process.”
Let me read it again. This is Duffey's email, the witness we want to come before us. “Based on guidance I have received and in light of the Administration’s plan to review assistance to Ukraine, including the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, hold off on any additional DoD obligations of these funds, pending direction from that process.”
Here's furthermore of what the quote said. “Given the sensitive nature of the request, I appreciate your keeping that information closely held to those who need to know to execute the direction.”
If there was ever an argument that we need Mr. Duffey to come testify, this is that information. This email is explosive.
A top Administration official, one that we've requested, is saying stop the aid 91 minutes after Trump called Zelensky and said keep it hush-hush. What more do you need to request a witness?
And by the way, it also shows how we need documents. Because there are going to be lots of other documents in addition to these emails that have not been made public. But these two emails raise at least two important questions that Senators who will act as jurors and the American people deserve answer to.
First, if there's nothing wrong with withholding the aid, why didn't Mr. Duffey want anyone to know about what he was doing? If this is a perfect conversation, if this is a ok action, why are they trying to hush it up.
And second, from whom did Duffey get the order and why did he do it? Whom did he get the order and why did he do it? Was it directly from President Trump, 91 minutes after the phone call? Was it from acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney? We don't know the answers to these questions, but we know we should have these answers.
And if President Trump is so confident that what he did is right, he would let Mr. Duffey testify and he will let the documents come out. When you have a trial like this, any trial, we want the facts. Just like Joe Friday said in Dragnet, "Just the facts, m'am." That's all we want. And it's only fair and only right.
Until we hear from the witnesses, until we get the documents, the American people will correctly assume that those blocking their testimony were aiding and abetting a cover up, plain and simple.
So I'll close by saying this: President Trump, release the emails. Let the witnesses testify. What are you afraid of?