WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats are proposing a weekslong Senate impeachment trial seeking testimony from four new witnesses including John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney over President Donald Trump’s actions toward Ukraine, according to a detailed outlined released Sunday.
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York proposed the structure for a “fair and honest’’ trial in a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, an attempt to launch negotiations ahead of House voting this week that is all but certain to result in the president being impeached.
Trump faces two charges — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — over his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden while withholding military aid to the ally. The president faces likely impeachment in the House, where Democrats have control, but he is expected to be acquitted in a trial in the Senate, where Republicans have the majority. McConnell has signaled his preference for a speedy trial.
“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 wrote. “The trial must be one that not only hears all of the evidence and adjudicates the case fairly; it must also pass the fairness test with the American people.”
Trump has expressed interest in a robust trial that would not only clear him of the charges in the Senate but also vindicate him, but his desire for a lengthy proceeding is something Senate Republicans are hoping to avoid.
Schumer and McConnell are are expected to meet to discuss the contours of a Senate trial, much as the Democrats and Republicans did during Bill Clinton’s impeachment two decades ago.
In the letter, Schumer proposes a detailed structure and timeline for a trial to begin Jan. 7, with the swearing in of Chief Justice John Roberts to oversee the proceedings and stretch for several weeks as Democrats subpoena witnesses and testimony, specifically around Trump’s decision to withhold military aid from Ukraine. A day of what Schumer calls “pretrial housekeeping measures” would take place Jan. 6.
Democrats want to hear from Bolton, who was Trump’s national security adviser at the time and labeled the alternative foreign policy being run by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and others as a “drug deal’’ he wanted no part of. He left the White House in September.
They also want testimony from Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff at the White House, who has acknowledged the military aid to Ukraine was being held up, as well as two other White House officials: Robert Blair, a top Mulvaney aide, and Michael Duffey, a budget official who was tasked with handling the Ukraine issue.