Republicans scoff at Chuck Schumer’s impeachment trial proposal

Chuck Schumer is trying to woo independent-minded Republicans to back his framework for an impeachment trial. But Susan Collins isn’t a fan of his tactics.

Chuck Schumer is trying to woo independent-minded Republicans to back his framework for an impeachment trial. But Susan Collins isn’t a fan of his tactics.

In an interview Monday, the Maine Republican criticized the Senate minority leader for widely publicizing his opening offer before Schumer had even sat down with Mitch McConnell.

“I was surprised that he didn’t first sit down with the Senate majority leader and discuss his proposals rather than doing a letter that he released to the press,” Collins said. “The more constructive way would have been for him to sit down with Sen. McConnell.”

In a letter sent Sunday to McConnell, Schumer laid out a proposal under which the Senate would call several witnesses the White House has refused to make available in the House’s impeachment inquiry, including President Donald Trump’s acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton. Schumer also requested additional documents that the president has declined to provide.

It was an aggressive play from the chamber’s top Democrat and one certain to be rejected by most Republicans. But the cool response from one of the few GOP senators undecided on impeachment highlights the partisan tensions consuming the Senate before the trial even starts.

In fact, many Republicans retorted that if Schumer wants to go down the path of calling in Trump administration witnesses for the Senate impeachment trial, they too can play that game.

Several GOP senators said any conversation on witnesses would quickly turn to subpoenaing Hunter Biden, who has come under scrutiny for his role advising Ukrainian gas company Burisma while his father was vice president.

“If we’re going to have witnesses … then you’re going to have allow the defense to call witnesses that they believe are exculpatory. If that’s the direction [Democrats] want to go, then that’s what we’ll do,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). “You can’t have a process where only side gets to call unlimited witnesses.

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