Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday he and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer failed to reach an agreement on the pending impeachment trial against President Trump.
Although the meeting was “cordial,” the two men could not bridge differences on such matters as calling witnesses to testify.
The Kentucky Republican is calling for the same process President Bill Clinton received during his impeachment trial in 1999 where the House managers presented the case against the president and the president’s lawyers get a chance to respond. The issue of witnesses would be decided at a later time.
During the Clinton impeachment trial, the Senate unanimously agreed to the process.
But this time, Mr. Schumer has insisted on a pre-trial guarantee that at least four key witnesses close to the president with knowledge of his phone call with the Ukrainian president could testify about the president’s request for a corruption probe into his political rival former Vice President Joe Biden while withholding military aid.
“He wants to break from that unanimous bipartisan precedent and force an all or nothing approach,” Mr. McConnell said of the chamber’s top Democrat.
Mr. McConnell also questioned the rush to impeachment when Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has refused to transmit the articles of impeachment to his chamber, suggesting she is holding them as leverage to guarantee a fair trial in the GOP-controlled chamber.
“I admit I’m not sure what the of leverage there is in refraining from sending us something we do not want. But alas, if they can figure that out, they can explain it,” Mr. McConnell said.