IMPEACHMENT; Congressional Record Vol. 166, No. 12
(Senate - January 21, 2020)

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[Pages S288-S289]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, before I begin, there has been well-
founded concern that the additional security measures required for 
access to the Galleries during the trial could cause reporters to miss 
some of the events on the Senate floor. I want to assure everyone in 
the press that I will vociferously oppose any attempt to begin the 
trial unless the reporters trying to enter the Galleries are seated.
  The press is here to inform the American public about these pivotal 
events in our Nation's history. We must make sure they are able to. 
Some may not want what happens here to be public; we do.
  Mr. President, after the conclusion of my remarks, the Senate will 
proceed to the impeachment trial of President Donald John Trump for 
committing high crimes and misdemeanors. President Trump is accused of 
coercing a foreign leader into interfering in our elections to benefit 
himself and then doing everything in his power to cover it up. If 
proved, the President's actions are crimes against democracy itself.
  It is hard to imagine a greater subversion of our democracy than for 
powers outside our borders to determine the elections there within. For 
a foreign country to attempt such a thing on its own is bad enough. For 
an American President to deliberately solicit such a thing--to 
blackmail a foreign country with military assistance to help him win an 
election--is unimaginably worse. I can't imagine any other President 
doing this.
  Beyond that, for then the President to deny the right of Congress to 
conduct oversight, deny the right to investigate any of his activities, 
to say article II of the Constitution gives him the right to ``do 
whatever [he] wants''--we are staring down an erosion of the sacred 
democratic principles for which our Founders fought a bloody war of 
independence. Such is the gravity of this historic moment.
  Once Senator Inhofe is sworn in at 1 p.m., the ceremonial functions 
at the beginning of a Presidential trial will be complete. The Senate 
then must determine the rules of the trial. The Republican leader will 
offer an organizing resolution that outlines his plan--his plan--for 
the rules of the trial. It is completely partisan. It was kept secret 
until the very eve of the trial. Now that it is public, it is very easy 
to see why.
  The McConnell rules seem to be designed by President Trump for 
President Trump. It asks the Senate to rush through as fast as possible 
and makes getting evidence as hard as possible. It could force 
presentations to take place at 2 o'clock or 3 o'clock in the morning so 
the American people will not see them.
  In short, the McConnell resolution will result in a rushed trial, 
with little evidence, in the dark of the night--literally the dark of 
night. If the President is so confident in his case, if Leader 
McConnell is so confident the President did nothing wrong, why don't 
they want the case to be presented in broad daylight?
  On something as important as impeachment, the McConnell resolution is 
nothing short of a national disgrace. This will go down--this 

[[Page S289]]

one of the darker moments in the Senate history, perhaps one of even 
the darkest.
  Leader McConnell has just said he wants to go by the Clinton rules. 
Then why did he change them, in four important ways at minimum, to all 
make the trial less transparent, less clear, and with less evidence? He 
said he wanted to get started in exactly the same way. It turns out, 
contrary to what the leader said--I am amazed he could say it with a 
straight face--that the rules are the same as the Clinton rules. The 
rules are not even close to the Clinton rules.

  Unlike the Clinton rules, the McConnell resolution does not admit the 
record of the House impeachment proceedings into evidence. Leader 
McConnell wants a trial with no existing evidence and no new evidence. 
A trial without evidence is not a trial; it is a coverup.
  Second, unlike the Clinton rules, the McConnell resolution limits 
presentation by the parties to 24 hours per side over only 2 days. We 
start at 1, 12 hours a day, we are at 1 a.m., and that is without 
breaks. It will be later. Leader McConnell wants to force the managers 
to make important parts of their case in the dark of night.
  No. 3, unlike the Clinton rules, the McConnell resolution places an 
additional hurdle to get witnesses and documents by requiring a vote on 
whether such motions are even in order. If that vote fails, then no 
motions to subpoena witnesses and documents will be in order.
  I don't want anyone on the other side to say: I am going to vote no 
first on witnesses, but then later I will determine--if they vote for 
McConnell's resolution, they are making it far more difficult to vote 
in the future, later on in the trial.
  And finally, unlike the Clinton rules, the McConnell resolution 
allows a motion to dismiss at any time--any time--in the trial.
  In short, contrary to what the leader has said, the McConnell rules 
are not at all like the Clinton rules. The Republican leader's 
resolution is based neither in precedent nor in principle. It is driven 
by partisanship and the politics of the moment.
  Today I will be offering amendments to fix the many flaws in Leader 
McConnell's deeply unfair resolution and seek the witnesses and 
documents we have requested, beginning with an amendment to have the 
Senate subpoena White House documents.
  Let me be clear. These amendments are not dilatory. They only seek 
one thing: the truth. That means relevant documents. That means 
relevant witnesses. That is the only way to get a fair trial, and 
everyone in this body knows it.
  Each Senate impeachment trial in our history, all 15 that were 
brought to completion, feature witnesses--every single one.
  The witnesses we request are not Democrats. They are the President's 
own men. The documents are not Democratic documents. They are 
documents, period. We don't know if the evidence of the witnesses or 
the documents will be exculpatory to the President or incriminating, 
but we have an obligation--a solemn obligation, particularly now during 
this most deep and solemn part of our Constitution--to seek the truth 
and then let the chips fall where they may.
  My Republican colleagues have offered several explanations for 
opposing witnesses and documents at the start of the trial. None of 
them has much merit. Republicans have said we should deal with the 
question of witnesses later in the trial. Of course, it makes no sense 
to hear both sides present their case first and then afterward decide 
if the Senate should hear evidence. The evidence is supposed to inform 
arguments, not come after they are completed.
  Some Republicans have said the Senate should not go beyond the House 
record by calling any witnesses, but the Constitution gives the Senate 
the sole power to try impeachments--not the sole power to review, not 
the sole power to rehash but to try.
  Republicans have called our request for witnesses and documents 
political. If seeking the truth is political, then the Republican Party 
is in serious trouble.
  The White House has said that the Articles of Impeachment are brazen 
and wrong. Well, if the President believes his impeachment is so brazen 
and wrong, why won't he show us why? Why is the President so insistent 
that no one come forward, that no documents be released? If the 
President's case is so weak, that none of the President's men can 
defend him under oath, shame on him and those who allow it to happen. 
What is the President hiding? What are our Republican colleagues 
hiding? If they weren't afraid of the truth, they would say: Go right 
ahead, get at the truth, get witnesses, get documents.
  In fact, at no point over the last few months have I heard a single, 
solitary argument on the merits of why witnesses and documents should 
not be part of the trial. No Republicans explained why less evidence is 
better than more evidence.
  Nevertheless, Leader McConnell is poised to ask the Senate to begin 
the first impeachment trial of a President in history without 
witnesses; that rushes through the arguments as quickly as possible; 
that, in ways both shameless and subtle, will conceal the truth--the 
truth--from the American people.
  Leader McConnell claimed that the House ``ran the most rushed, least 
thorough, and most unfair impeachment inquiry in modern history.'' The 
truth is, Leader McConnell is plotting the most rushed, least thorough, 
and most unfair impeachment trial in modern history, and it begins 
  The Senate has before it a very straightforward question. The 
President is accused of coercing a foreign power to interfere in our 
elections to help himself. It is the job of the Senate to determine if 
these very serious charges are true. The very least we can do is 
examine the facts, review the documents, hear the witnesses, try the 
case, not run from it, not hide from it--try it.
  If the President commits high crimes and misdemeanors and Congress 
refuses to act, refuses even to conduct a fair trial of his conduct, 
then Presidents--this President and future Presidents--can commit 
impeachable crimes with impunity, and the order and rigor of our 
democracy will dramatically decline.
  The fail-safe--the final fail-safe of our democracy will be rendered 
mute. The most powerful check on the Executive--the one designed to 
protect the people from tyranny--will be erased.
  In a short time, my colleagues, each of us, will face a choice about 
whether to begin this trial in search of the truth or in service of the 
President's desire to cover it up, whether the Senate will conduct a 
fair trial and a full airing of the facts or rush to a predetermined 
political outcome.
  My colleagues, the eyes of the Nation, the eyes of history, the eyes 
of the Founding Fathers are upon us. History will be our final judge. 
Will Senators rise to the occasion?
  I yield the floor.