Donald Trump‘s impeachment defense counsel made its case to the Senate on Saturday. In a subsequent press conference, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the president’s defense unintentionally argued a “really compelling case” for why the Senate should demand witnesses and documents, Breitbart reports.
“They kept saying there are no eyewitness accounts,” Schumer said. “But there are people who have eyewitness accounts, the very four witnesses and the very four sets of documents that we have asked for.”
Schumer noted that the defense argued that “no one really knows” what Trump’s intentions were with Ukraine. Although the president is accused of using foreign aid as leverage to pressure the Eastern European country into doing his bidding, the defense argued that suggestions that he planned to cut off military aid to the country are “speculation.”
“But there are people who do know,” Schumer said. “Mick Mulvaney knows. In all likelihood, Mr. Blair knows. Mr. Bolton may know.”
The 69-year-old politician acknowledged that some Republicans are saying Trump’s defense made a good case and added that “no one denies” that the House did the same.
“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.”
The bottom line is very simple:— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 25, 2020
We've been making the argument that we need witnesses and we need documents.
Today President Trump’s counsel did something they might not have intended: They made our case for witnesses and documents even stronger. pic.twitter.com/MQ52A3Bkqa
The decision to hear from new witnesses and request new evidence has been a point of contention since the House passed the two articles of impeachment against Trump. While Democrats believe new evidence is necessary, members of the GOP are pushing to end the trial as soon as possible. Notably, Schumer previously said the trial was beginning under a “cloud of unfairness” after the GOP-led Senate shot down 11 of his amendments.
To hear from witnesses during the trial, Democrats need the support of four Republican senators, CNN reported. The publication notes that such a feat would be difficult and would likely involve persuading Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, and Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado.
Per Raw Story, one of the biggest arguments from Trump’s defense was that there was a risk that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections. Not long after, MSNBC’s Brian Williams highlighted a previous clip from Sen. Lindsey Graham — one of Trump’s ardent supporters — in which he contradicts the defense’s argument.
Graham says he is certain that Ukraine didn’t interfere in the election and said the Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC). As Williams noted, this statement runs contrary to the narrative the president and his allies have been pushing, even before his impeachment defense used it.