Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) spoke to the media Thursday morning on Capitol Hill, saying he felt a shift in the Senate chambers during Wednesday’s opening arguments in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
“Yesterday, the managers got to lay out their case uninterrupted. As manager after manager stepped up to lay out the evidence amassed against the president in precise and devastating detail, the atmosphere of the Senate took on an entirely different dimension,” Schumer said to reporters.
The senior senator from New York put forth that Wednesday’s opening arguments could have been the first time that his Republican counterparts heard the full story, “the complete narrative, from start to finish, uninterrupted and not filtered through the kaleidoscope of Fox News,” a source where “at best, things are left out and, and worst, things are terribly distorted,” he said.
“It may have planted the first seed in their minds that, yes, perhaps the president did something very wrong here.”
Schumer said the house impeachment managers did an exceptional job detailing the facts of the president’s alleged abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, and that they meticulously walked their audience through the full chronology of events. He further praised their abilities to anticipate and rebut what he described as “the most predictable counter-arguments from the president’s counsel,” saying the managers knocked those arguments down before they could even be made.
The Senate minority leader then expressed how “impressed” he was at Rep. Adam Schiff’s abilities to use Trump’s own words against him to build the case. He commented further on the efforts of Schiff and his fellow impeachment managers, saying that he wasn’t sure if Trump’s team would be able to overcome what they’re up against.
“At this point, I’m not sure how the president’s counsel — as unprepared, confused and tending towards conspiracy theories as they have been — can clear it,” Schumer said.
Schumer then addressed the response from across the aisle. His Senate colleagues stated they had heard nothing new, though the minority leader reminded them that they voted nine times on Tuesday to make sure that would be the case. He further expressed that, at key points in yesterday’s proceedings, the need for witness testimony — particularly from Mick Mulvaney, Robert Blair, Michael Duffey, and John Bolton — became completely self-evident.
The American people deserve a fair trial.
But President Trump and Senator McConnell don’t even want to consider witnesses and documents.
Why are Senate Republicans enabling a cover-up? pic.twitter.com/zyWflKKdSt
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 23, 2020
“I don’t see how any senator, Democrat or Republican, could sit on the floor, listen to Adam Schiff and the House impeachment managers and not demand witnesses and documents, unless, that is, they’re not interested in the truth.”
The Trump impeachment trial is set to resume at 1 p.m. Thursday, with House managers continuing opening arguments. Trump’s team will be allowed an equal 24 hours to lay out its own opening arguments before senators will submit questions to both legal teams, to be read by the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice John Roberts.