WASHINGTON — With Republicans resisting any testimony by top White House officials at President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, Sen. Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, issued a new demand Monday, calling for specific documents — including emails and other internal White House records — to be subpoenaed as part of the proceedings.
In a letter to his Senate colleagues, Schumer laid out a long list of records that Democrats would like to see, including internal emails and documents from the White House, State Department and the Office of Management and Budget relating to the president’s effort to press Ukraine’s leader to investigate Trump’s political rivals.
The letter was an effort to increase pressure on Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the majority leader, to negotiate with Democrats over the president’s trial on charges of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” The House voted last week to impeach Trump in connection with the Ukraine matter.
“There simply is no good reason why evidence that is directly relevant to the conduct at issue in the Articles of Impeachment should be withheld from the Senate and the American people,” Schumer, D-N.Y., wrote in asking for the documents.
But McConnell, who has said he is “taking my cues” from the White House in shaping the trial, is not likely to agree to the demand. He already has rejected Schumer’s request for testimony from four White House officials — including John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, and Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff.
“Do you think Chuck Schumer is impartial?” McConnell asked during an appearance Monday morning on “Fox and Friends.” He went on: “So let’s quit the charade. This is a political exercise.”
In his letter, sent while lawmakers are away from Washington during the holiday recess, Schumer took a shot at McConnell, who has said he would not be an impartial juror and has vowed that Trump would be acquitted.
“Relevant documentary evidence currently in the possession of the Administration will augment the existing evidentiary record and will allow Senators to reach judgments informed by all of the available facts,” Schumer wrote. “To oppose the admission of this evidence would be to turn a willfully blind eye to the facts, and would clearly be at odds with the obligation of Senators to ‘do impartial justice’ according to the oath we will all take in the impeachment trial.”
Schumer’s letter comes on the heels of newly released emails showing that the White House asked officials to keep quiet over the suspension of military aid to Ukraine.
That request, the emails show, came just 90 minutes after a July 25 telephone call between Trump and President Volodymyr Zelenskiy of Ukraine. During the call, Trump asked Zelenskiy to “do us a favor, though,” and investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and Biden’s son, Hunter.
The letter builds on one that Schumer sent to McConnell on Dec. 15, in which he also asked for the Senate to subpoena documents, along with four witnesses. But that letter did not specify which records Schumer wanted.
In the new letter, he put forth a specific list. His request for the White House includes “email communications, messages, memoranda and other records” related to the July 25 call, as well as White House records related to the whistleblower complaint that sparked the House impeachment inquiry.
From the State Department, he asked for “detailed notes, emails, text and WhatsApp messages, memorandums to file, and diplomatic cables pertinent to the investigation that State Department witnesses told the House are being withheld.”
The Office of Management and Budget “is also in possession of highly relevant documents and communications related to this case,” Schumer wrote.