The House managers prosecuting the case against President Trump blasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s proposed trial rules as “rigged,” just hours before impeachment proceedings are slated to resume on the floor.
The blistering statement from the impeachment managers came after McConnell, late Monday, revealed his resolution.
DEMOCRATS CLASH WITH REPUBLICANS OVER PROSPECT OF CALLING HUNTER BIDEN IN IMPEACHMENT TRIAL
The resolution showed a condensed, two-day calendar for each side to give opening statements, at 12 hours per day. After the four days of opening arguments, senators would be allowed up to 16 hours for written questions to the prosecution and defense, followed by four hours of debate. Only then would there be votes on calling other witnesses—something that, if approved, would likely happen next week. At the end of the deliberations, the Senate would then vote on each impeachment article.
“For weeks, Mitch McConnell has asserted that he planned to follow the ‘Clinton precedent’ for structuring President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial. It is now clear why he hid his proposed resolution all this time and released it the night before the trial is set to begin,” the managers wrote in a statement Tuesday morning. “His resolution deviates sharply from the Clinton precedent—and common sense—in an effort to prevent the full truth of the President’s misconduct from coming to light.”
The Democratic “managers” include House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif; House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.; and Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y; Val Demings, D-Fla.; Jason Crow, D-Colo.; Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.; and Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas.
The managers argued that during the 1999 impeachment, Clinton provided “more than 90,000 pages” of documents before the trial took place, “all of the witnesses had testified before the Senate trial began,” and the only issue was “whether they would be re-called to testify once more.”
“Here, McConnell is trying to prevent the witness from ever testifying, and the public from ever finding out what they have to say,” they wrote. “If those efforts are successful, this will be the first impeachment trial in American history in which the Senate did not allow the House to present its case with witnesses and documents. The McConnell Resolution goes so far as to suggest it may not even allow the evidence gathered by the House to be admitted.”
SENATE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL SET TO BEGIN AS TRUMP ADDS LAST-MINUTE REINFORCEMENTS TO DEFENSE TEAM
They added: “That is not a fair trial. In fact, it is no trial at all.”
McConnell is slated to formally introduce his proposal to lay out the rules to govern the trial on Tuesday—rules that he has repeatedly said would mirror those the Senate used in the impeachment of then-President Bill Clinton in 1999.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had for weeks been holding onto the articles of impeachment—charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress—in a bid to extract favorable terms for the trial, including a commitment from McConnell on witnesses and additional document requests. But once McConnell made clear he was unwilling to negotiate, she ended the delay, and transmitted the articles.