In the wake of a successful vote to impeach President Donald Trump on two articles of impeachment, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to meet with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday. They will begin what could be a grueling process of negotiations to set the rules for Trump’s upcoming trial in the Senate.
According to The Hill, Schumer revealed that he would be meeting with his Senate counterpart on Thursday, which would mark the first official meeting between the two leaders on the subject of a presidential impeachment trial.
“I’m meeting with Speaker Pelosi now and I expect I’ll be meeting with Leader McConnell this afternoon,” Schumer told reporters as he made his way to a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday morning.
The significance of Schumer’s meeting with McConnell comes on the heels of late-developing news after the House vote on Wednesday night in which Pelosi indicated that she will likely withhold transmitting the impeachment matter to the Senate for the time being. Her potential decision could be an effort to allow Schumer to negotiate terms that are more fair to Democrats.
The maneuver to delay the impeachment from going to the Senate right away, which was encouraged by several House Democrats, also provides the speaker ample time to select the House managers who will attempt to make the case for Trump’s removal from office during a trial in the Senate.
Schumer seemed to be agreeable with Pelosi’s delay tactic, citing the need for Democrat-called witnesses and various documents that Democrats have requested involving Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
“We want a fair trial. A fair trial to my way of thinking involves witnesses and documents. You don’t have trials without them,” Schumer said.
“Leader McConnell spoke for a half-hour, didn’t give one reason why there shouldn’t be witnesses or documents,” Schumer added. “This is impeachment, it’s serious. Let’s hope some other Republicans rise to the occasion.”
Chuck Schumer: The four witnesses we suggest are top Trump-appointed officials with direct knowledge of the Ukraine story. They aren’t Democrats. Can none of the president’s men come defend him under oath? pic.twitter.com/WPYSfrF9jG— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) December 19, 2019
McConnell, who previously indicated that he would be working with White House counsel during a Senate impeachment trial, spoke on Thursday regarding Wednesday night’s successful House vote and blasted Democrats for their actions.
“This is by far the thinnest basis for any House-passed presidential impeachment in American history. The thinnest and the weakest — and nothing else even comes close,” McConnell said.
The Senate majority leader also told reporters on Thursday that he was shocked to hear that Pelosi and Schumer believe that delaying the impeachment trial provides Democrats any extra leverage with regard to the rules for a trial.