Politics

Senate Democrats will seek to subpoena White House records in Trump impeachment trial

Key Points
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday that he will introduce a series of amendments to the proposed rules for President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, set to begin Tuesday afternoon.
  • McConnell on Monday released an outline of the trial rules that largely resemble former President Bill Clinton's 1998 impeachment trial.
  • But the rules in Trump's trial depart from Clinton's in key sections — most notably in the tight time constraints placed on both sides to state their cases.
VIDEO2:0502:05
Impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump begins in earnest

WASHINGTON -- Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday that he will introduce a series of amendments to the proposed rules for President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, set to begin Tuesday afternoon.

"The first amendment I will offer will ask that the Senate subpoena White House documents related to the charges against the president," Schumer said at a news conference. "Those documents include the records of meetings and calls between President Trump and the president of Ukraine, as well as those records created or received by ... White House personnel about the decision to hold and release the military assistance to Ukraine."

McConnell on Monday released an outline of the trial rules that largely resemble former President Bill Clinton's 1998 impeachment trial. But the rules in Trump's trial depart from Clinton's in key sections — most notably in the tight time constraints placed on both sides to state their cases.

Democrats were quick to cry foul. "McConnell's resolution is nothing short of a national disgrace," Schumer said Tuesday, "and it will go down in history as one of the very dark days of the Senate."

Ahead of Wednesday's opening arguments, Democrats have an opportunity on Tuesday afternoon to introduce amendments to these rules, which the full Senate will then vote on.

McConnell has said he wants a speedy acquittal for Trump, and has openly said his office is coordinating with the White House. His final resolution allows just two days each for House managers, and then Trump's defense team, to present their arguments, with 24 hours of total time allotted each side.

As with Clinton's trial, McConnell's resolution allows senators to vote on witness testimony during the trial itself. But it also requires a specific vote in the majority-Republican chamber to consider evidence gathered from the House impeachment process.

The White House might also try to dismiss the trial outright in a motion on the Senate floor. While only a simple 51-vote majority is required to pass that motion, a handful of the 53 Republicans in the chamber have suggested they would not vote to do so.

Still, it is highly unlikely that two-thirds of the Senate will vote to convict and remove a Republican president. Trump is just the third U.S. president ever to be impeached, and no Senate Republicans have said they will vote to convict.

The president has denied wrongdoing.

After Tuesday's debate over the trial rules, opening arguments are set to begin at 1 p.m. on Wednesday.