TRANSCRIPT: Schumer Says President’s Counsel Made Compelling Case For Witnesses And Documents Democrats Have Requested In Senate Impeachment Trial

January 25, 2020

Washington, D.C.— Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer today delivered the following remarks following the first day of opening arguments from President Trump’s legal defense team: 

Sen. Schumer: Now, the first point that I would like to make is that the president's counsel did something they did not intend. They made a really compelling case for why the Senate should call witnesses and documents. They kept saying there are no eyewitness accounts, but there are people who have eyewitness accounts. The very four witnesses and very four sets of documents that we have asked for.

They made the argument that no one really knows what the president intended, it is speculation what the president intended when he cut off aid. But there are people who do know. Mick Mulvaney knows. In all likelihood Mr. Blair knows. Mr. Bolton may know. Why shouldn't we have witnesses and documents here?

They made the argument, the president's counsel, that the president couldn't participate in the House process because they believe—I don't believe it’s right—the president couldn't participate in the House process because it didn't go by the rules of the Constitution and what was required. Here in the Senate we're doing it exactly as the Constitution requires. Will they participate or will they find some other excuse?

So the president's counsel is criticizing the case against the president for lack of sources close to the president while at the same time blocking testimony from witnesses close to the president. It makes no sense. And even if you are on the Republican side, I don't think the president's counsel did a very good job. There are gaping holes in their testimony. They spent about thirty minutes refuting something the House never said that in July and August, the quid pro quo was for military assistance. It wasn't. It was for a meeting. But I'll leave that. The House Managers are coming in here and I'll leave that to them to refute point by point. But they have a good website where they do refute this.

But the bottom line is that even if you're Republican, even if you think they made a good case, as I hear some of the Republicans saying, no one denies that the House made a good case. Even Republicans say the House Managers made a good case. So if you're a Republican and you think that the case that was made today was strong, then why not have witnesses and documents if you think both sides made their case? That's what a trial would do.

To just quote one of my colleagues, Senator Gillibrand, “To my colleagues, don't bury your head in the sand and then complain about it being dark.” There's real evidence, there's real facts.

And another thing, Mr. Philbin talked about the judicial right of cross examination and how it was so sacred in Western jurisprudence. What does cross examination involve? Witnesses.

So the bottom line is very simple. We’ve been making the argument that we need witnesses we need documents. We’re making the argument that it won’t take very long to get them as part of the trial. Today we thank the president’s counsel for one thing. They made our case even stronger.