Schumer seizes on new reporting in calls for trial witnesses

By Marianne LeVine

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer renewed his call Monday for White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton to testify in the Senate impeachment trial after The New York Times published new details about the effort to withhold aid to Ukraine.

“Simply put: In our fight to have key documents and witnesses in a Senate impeachment trial, these new revelations are a game-changer,” Schumer said at a news conference in New York City.

The Times’ investigation shed new light on the extent to which President Donald Trump sought to freeze military assistance to Ukraine, despite pleas from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Bolton. The Times also offered new details of the role Mulvaney played in executing Trump’s request.

In addition to Bolton and Mulvaney, Senate Democrats have also called for testimony from Michael Duffey, an official at the White House Office of Management and Budget, and Robert Blair, assistant to the president and senior adviser to Mulvaney. The White House has repeatedly blocked witnesses from testifying.

Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) remain at an impasse over the terms of the forthcoming Senate impeachment trial. While Democrats want to decide on witnesses at the outset of the trial, Senate Republicans in recent weeks have held off deciding on witnesses until after the House managers — the lawmakers House Democrats pick to act as prosecutors — and the president present their cases. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she will not send over the articles of impeachment until she knows the trial details.

The New York Times story comes after the Center for Public Integrity obtained emails from Duffey that showed he contacted the Defense Department to hold off delivering aid to Ukraine about 90 minutes after Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens during a July 25 call.

“When you combine these new revelations with the explosive emails from Michael Duffey released last weekend, it makes the strongest case yet for a Senate trial to include the witnesses and documents we have requested,” Schumer said. “I hope every Republican senator should read this story and explains why they would oppose our reasonable request for witnesses and documents in the Senate trial.”