The Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump began Tuesday, and Democrats and Republicans continue to clash regarding the appropriate direction for the process. On Wednesday, after the GOP-led Senate rejected 11 of his amendments, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer took aim at Republicans for allegedly creating an unfair trial, Fox News reports.
“It was a dark day, and a dark night for the Senate,” Schumer, D-N.Y., said of the opening day of trial speeches, which ran until early Wednesday morning. “As a consequence, the impeachment trial of President Trump begins with a cloud hanging over it – a cloud of unfairness.”
During the long initial session, Democrats failed to subpoena new witnesses and did not obtain documents from the White House before opening arguments. Despite their best efforts, the 11 proposals were shot down, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell‘s resolution to begin the trial without a guarantee of new evidence passed.
Republicans remain adamant in their fight against new witnesses. One potential witness is former national security adviser John Bolton, who said he would be open to testifying and could potentially damage Trump’s case.
Along with Democrats, Independent Michigan Rep. Justin Amash previously expressed his belief that it is the Senate’s duty to present new evidence, call new witnesses, and introduce documents in the name of a fair trial.
“Each side must be able to call any witness relevant to the case,” he tweeted Tuesday. “Each side must be able to present any evidence relevant to the case. The focus must be on a fair trial, not the political fortunes of the president, Republicans, or Democrats.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer: "The public has is realizing how unfair Leader McConnell's resolution is and they are telling Republican senators to change it." pic.twitter.com/jsW7vsNvsq— The Hill (@thehill) January 21, 2020
Although none of Schumer’s amendments passed, he still expressed optimism after McConnell’s original proposal was changed to allow three days as opposed to two days for each side’s opening argument. The change reportedly came after McConnell faced pressure from Republican Party moderates.
“I’m glad a few of Leader McConnell’s most egregious proposals were expired,” Schumer said.
After the first phase of the trial is complete, Schumer will take another shot at obtaining witnesses and documents. He requires support from at least four GOP Senators to succeed, meaning Democrats must make convincing arguments during the opening phase to pressure Republicans for their support.
Although Bolton is willing to testify in the trial, Trump previously said he would use executive privilege to block such testimony. Regardless, some House Democrats remain open to calling witnesses should Democrats in the Senate fail to gain the support they need to do so on their own.