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tv   Senator Schumer News Conference  CSPAN  December 16, 2019 7:58pm-8:16pm EST

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of the capital as tel aviv. >> i am interested in hearing more about what our presidential candidates plan to do to sustain our hbcu's across the nation. as a graduate of a historically black college in orangeburg, south carolina, south carolina state university, and now an employee of an hbcu, here in sum ter, south carolina, i want to hear more about what the candidates plan to do to sustain our hbcu's in these financially challenging times. >> voices from the road on c-span >> ssent minority leader chuck schumer held a news conference earlier to discuss proposal on how president trump's impeachment trial should be conducted. this briefing is about 15 minutes. you also have martha mcsally and susan collins in maine.
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>> hello, glad to be part of your live performance. [laughter] good afternoon. the main purpose today is to follow-up on the letter i spent to leader mcconnell about the potential senate impeachment trial and rules for them. let's not forget that there are many other things the senate should be working on right now. , we recognize the seventh anniversary of the sandy hook massacre. in the seven years since that unthinkable tragedy, america has experienced countless incidents of gun violence ranging from horrific mass shootings to the thousands of shootings that devastate communities everyday. the senate has not even debated background check legislation. the senate has not debated legislation to reduce the cost of health care, college
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education, or prescription drugs. republican leadership has even refused to work with democrats on bipartisan solutions to secure our elections and deter foreign adversaries from interfering in our elections. all of the productive activity in congress is coming out of the house. the senate remains a legislative graveyard for so many different issues. now on impeachment. isyou know, the house expected to vote on the articles of impeachment this week. assuming the articles are adopted by the house, the senate will serve as a court of impeachment. conducting an impeachment trial in the senate is on norma slee ouslyty -- is an enorm weighty and solemn responsibility. senate democrats believe
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strongly that the trial must be fair and it is very important to the american people judge it to be fair. a fair trial is one where senators get all the facts and one that allows them to adjudicate the case impartially. two weeks ago now, i told leader mcconnell i was ready to discuss trial rules. instead of talking to me, he spoke publicly about what a trial may look like and said he was taking his cues from the white house. it was very partisan, very slanted, and very unfair. to get things back on track, i sent a letter to leader mcconnell last night outlining a very reasonable structure that will result in a fair trial. this morning, i sent the letter to every united states senator, democrat and republican.
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i hope that all of my colleagues will look at this proposed structure and make up their own minds. witnesses we propose have direct knowledge of why the aid to ukraine was delayed. we don't know what kind of evidence they will present. they might present exculpatory evidence that helps president trump. it may be incriminating against the president. but they should be heard. but, by virtue of the senior administration positions they occupy, each of them will have information to share about the charges made by the house. information that no one has heard at this point. in fact, in the case of mr. bolton, his attorneys stated publicly that he has additional relevant information to share.
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information that has not yet become public. how come on such a weighty matter, could we avoid hearing this, could we go forward without hearing it? that is why i sent the letter, in part, to leader mcconnell. that subpoenasd for documents directly related to the charges brought by the house come forward. there is always a lot of attention on the question of witnesses, but these documents are also of great importance when it comes to making sure senators have what they need to make a fully informed decision. right now, i think the house has amassed a great deal of evidence, much of it in the form of testimony from the president's own appointees, that the president committed impeachable offenses. but a good number of my republican colleagues have said
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they believe the charges are serious but there isn't enough evidence yet for them to make a decision. we believe these witnesses and documents will provide the evidence they are looking for without being dilatory or letting the trial drag on for too long. i have not seen a single good argument about why these witnesses should not testify, or these documents produced, unless the president has something to hide and his supporters want that information hidden. the trial structure i outlined in my letter to leader mcconnell will ensure that all of the relevant facts come out without till a tory action. -- dilatory action. there is a grand american tradition of a speedy and fair trial and that is just what we have proposed here.
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i expect republicans would be sympathetic to our proposal for that reason. the president and house republicans have resisted letting all of the evidence and cts come out. the president have not offered any exculpatory evidence that refutes what is in the house impeachment charges. they have not refuted them. up documents could be summed "dragnet," just the facts, ma'am. that's what we are interested in, not diversions or conspiracy theories irrelevant to the case, just the facts, ma'am. has said, the president offered nothing exculpatory to disprove the evidence that has been put forward. instead, he has orchestrated a cover-up.
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it has left many in the senate and millions across the country asking what is the president hiding? why doesn't he want the facts to come out? in their investigation, the house compiled and presented an enormous amount of evidence in support of the articles of impeachment. but, as i said, some of my republican colleagues are saying there isn't enough evidence. the trial structure i outlined in my letter to leader mcconnell will ensure all of the facts come out. senators coming weeks, , particular republican senators, will have a choice, do they want to fair, honest trial that examines all of the facts or a trial but does not let the facts come out? trials have witnesses. that is what trials are all about. and documents. prosecutors, in
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this case the house attorneys make their side, and the president's make their side. we have heard all about. -- all of that. we need to know the facts from those in a position to know and from documents that actually ccurately reflect them. to engage a trial without the facts coming out is to engage in a cover-up. , wes saying we are afraid have something to hide. to conduct a trial without relevant witnesses who have not been heard from to just rehash the evidence presented in the house just does not make any sense. if leader mcconnell does not hold a full and fair trial, the american people will rightly ask what are you, leader mcconnell,
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and what is president trump hiding? i am ready for questions. one at a time. did not: in 1999, you support hearings from new witnesses in a senate trial. why do you do now? my view was we: have heard these witnesses over and over again and heard the same story. the witnesses in 1999 had already given grand jury testimony and we knew what they were to say. the four witnesses we have called have not been heard from. that is the difference, and it is a difference that is totally overwhelming. reporter: some republicans have suggested [indiscernible] done by the house democrats and the house democrats decided not to go to court to get these witnesses. should the democrats have pursued these witnesses?
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not goinghumer: i'm to second-guess the house. there is virtually no good argument if you're interested in the facts, in not having the witnesses come forward now. remember, the standard at a trial is different from the putsard when a prosecutor together a case. a trial is a place for witnesses. reporter: are you confident that you will have support from 51 senators? expect tohumer: i have support from democrats and republicans because the arguments are so strong. many republicans have voiced to me and my colleagues privately that they think with the president did was wrong but they are just not sure enough facts have been presented to make an impeachable case, high crimes and misdemeanors. this is the way to do it, the way we outline it. oforter: the witness list four witnesses, just four, you
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did not call for pompeo or giuliani. why did you settle on these four? senator schumer: these are the four that had the most direct contact of the facts that are in , whyte, most particularly was the aid to ukraine delayed? these are the best for witnesses -- four witnesses for that case. andon't want to be dilatory stretch this out longer than we have to, but these people are crucial and have not been heard from. that is the difference from 1999, and a total difference. reporter: [indiscernible] i am not going: to get into that, but i will negotiate with mcconnell, but live testimony is the best way to go. reporter: in 1999, the linchpin of the deal was that the
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senators did not want live testimony. they had some videotaped testimony and they thought it would bring discredit on the senate. i spoke to senator lott a few days ago and he thought the integrity of the senate is at risk if you have live witnesses on the floor. ,hy is that not the case despite what you said about not hearing from these four? in 1999, thatr: was the whole case, we heard from them. you agree that -- 1999, it waser: in obvious why they did not want a witness like monica belinsky -- monica lewinsky testifying in public. the whole nation, including children would be watching. there is no analogy. reporter: if house democrats feel they have enough evidence to impeach without hearing from these four witnesses, why is that not enough in the senate? senator schumer: there are some
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who think it is enough, we all have to wait and not prejudge the case, but many have said these are serious charges and i am not sure there is enough factual evidence to merit impeachment. these people know better than anybody else facts. there's no reason on gods green earth why they should not be called and testify, and less you are afraid of what they might say. reporter: if you can't reach an agreement with mcconnell, will democrats put a motion on the floor? senator schumer: i am hopeful. leader mcconnell has said he wants to sit down and talk and i am very eager and willing to do that. as i said, we want to come up with a fair trial where the facts come out, without dilatory actions or making this into a circus of unrelated conspiracy theories of either the right or left. last question, back there with the beard. are republicans
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and perhaps even the president who have ideas for witnesses they might want to call. are you willing, if senator mcconnell were to say we will do your witnesses but you have to do hours -- senator schumer: i think the trial should be focused on the facts the house presented, not somenspiracy theories that established lawyer puts forward and someone says let's hear if the conspiracy theory is correct, it has no relevance to the facts here. we will stick to the facts, and if there are other witnesses who might have witnessed what happened, who might have a strong evidence on the facts the house presented, i certainly want to hear who they are. thank you, everybody. testify on the ig report? >> c-span's "washington journal," live every day with
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news and policy issues that impact you. morning, we discussed the $1.37 trillion government spending bill that will be voted on in congress this week to avoid a government shutdown. we preview this week's house debate and vote on impeachment articles against president trump. watch "washington journal" live tuesday morning. join the discussion. tomorrow, the house rules committee decides parameters for the impeachment debate on the house floor. watch our live coverage of house rules at 11:00 a.m. eastern on c-span3. then on wednesday, the house is expected to vote on the two bang articles of impeachment against president trump you'd watch our live coverage on c-span3, online at, or listen live on the free c-span
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radio app. coming up tonight on c-span, a discussion on u.s. policy in afghanistan. then, from "washington journal," a look ahead to the house floor vote on the articles of impeachment. after that, a look back at the impeachment trial of president bill clinton. next, a discussion on the current political situation in afghanistan and the role the taliban and other powerbrokers like the u.s., china, russia and others play in peace agreements. the brookings institute posted this discussion. -- hosted this discussion. >>


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