TRANSCRIPT: Schumer Remarks Ahead Of Senate Consideration Of Witnesses & Documents In The Impeachment Trial Of Pres. Trump: “This Country Is Headed Towards The Greatest Cover Up Since Watergate”

January 31, 2020

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer spoke today at a press conference ahead of the Senate consideration of witnesses and documents in the impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Good morning, everybody. I'm proud to be joined by my colleagues this morning.

Now, as everyone knows, for months now we Democrats have relentlessly asked to hear from relevant witnesses and review relevant documents in this trial for a very simple reason: this is about truth.

And today, the Senate will vote on whether witnesses and documents are allowed in this trial. The importance of this vote is self-evident. Trials have witnesses; trials have documents. The vote today is about whether the Senate will have a fair trial of the President of the United States.

So it's deeply disturbing that on something of such importance to the future of our democracy, a few of my Republican colleagues announced last night they'd vote against hearing additional evidence. It's clear where the American people stand on the issue. Republican Senators who decide to go against the will of the people will have to reckon with it.

The result of today's vote is still an open question, but I would note that even in Senator Alexander's statement announcing his opposition to new evidence, he said that it was proven that the president did what he was accused of. He came to the wrong conclusion about hearing evidence in this trial, that's clear, but Senator Alexander, a senior Senate Republican, a retiring member, said out loud what I think most Senate Republicans believe in private. That, yes, the president did withhold military assistance to try to get Ukraine to help him in his elections and, yes, the president did interfere with congressional investigations of that misconduct.

He said yes, the president conditioned foreign aid and a White House meeting with an ally at war on the performance of bogus investigations that would help his re-election.

Sen. Alexander rejected ninety percent of the argument from the president's counsel that the president did nothing wrong. He acknowledged that the president did something that the Founders feared most: the potential corruption of our national elections by a foreign power — solicited by none other than our own president.

And to hide that gross misconduct, the White House exhausted every legal trick in the book to prevent congress from investigating.

If my Republican colleagues refuse to even consider witnesses and documents in this trial, this country is headed towards the greatest cover up since Watergate.

If my Republican colleagues refuse to even consider witnesses and documents in the trial, what will the president conclude? We all know: he'll conclude he can do it again, and congress can do nothing about it. He can try to cheat in his election again, something that eats at the roots of our democracy.

And one more point, the point I've been making for weeks, but is most relevant today: if my Republican colleagues refuse to consider witnesses and documents in this trial, the president's acquittal will be meaningless, because it will be the result of a sham trial. If there are no witnesses, no documents in this trial, there will be a permanent asterisk next to the acquittal of President Trump, written in permanent ink.

So, Senate Republicans face a choice today between seeking the truth and covering it up; between a fair trial and a farce; between country and party. No matter what the results of today's vote, I believe the truth will eventually come out.

My Republican colleagues should think about that before they vote today. The truth will eventually come out.

We could vote to see the truth in this trial, or it could come out in a few weeks or a few months. And on that day, every Republican who voted to hide the truth in an impeachment trial of the president will have to answer for it.