Dems outline potential framework for Senate impeachment trial, want Bolton, Mulvaney to testify

WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats are asking that several key witnesses who declined to cooperate with House impeachment investigators be called as part of the Senate trial examining whether President Donald Trump should be removed from office. 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., outlined his priorities and a possible structure for a weekslong Senate trial in a three-page letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. It marked the first formal move between the two leaders to negotiate a compromise on an impeachment trial, a key step that will help establish how long a trial will run and whether witnesses would be called to testify as part of the process. 

If Schumer and McConnell do not come to a bipartisan compromise, a majority in the Senate could agree on a measure outlining a process or senators to simply introduce motions and vote on them as they go. 

“Senate Democrats believe strongly, and I trust Senate Republicans agree, that this trial must be one that is fair, that considers all of the relevant facts, and that exercises the Senate’s ‘sole Power of Impeachment’ under the Constitution with integrity and dignity,” Schumer writes in the letter, noting that it must be a process that passes the “fairness test with the American people.”

“That is the great challenge for the Senate in the coming weeks,” Schumer added. 

Doug Andres, a spokesman for McConnell, said that McConnell plans to meet with Schumer to discuss a deal.

“Leader McConnell has made it clear he plans to meet with Leader Schumer to discuss the contours of a trial soon,” Andres said. “That timeline has not changed.”

Since Republicans hold a slim majority in the Senate (53 to 47), conservatives could hold more control over how the trial is run than Democrats. But, the thin margin paired with a number of Republicans facing tough races in the upcoming 2020 race, McConnell will be forced to walk a careful line and prevent the proceedings from becoming the spectacle some House Republicans have called for. 

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