Chuck Schumer Press Conference Transcript: Schumer Refutes Trump Legal Team After Trial - transcription powered by Happy Scribe

[00:00:01.06]
OK. Good afternoon, folks. Now, the first point that I would like to make is that the president's council did something that they did not intend. They made a really compelling case for why the Senate should call witnesses and documents. They kept saying there are no eyewitness accounts, but there are people who have eyewitness accounts. The very four witnesses and the very four sets of documents that we have asked for. They made the argument that no one really knows what the president intended.

[00:00:36.09]
It's speculation. What the president intended when he cut off aid. But there are people who do know. Mick Mulvaney knows in all likelihood, Mr Blair knows. Mr. Bolton may know. Why shouldn't we have witnesses and documents here? I thought and one other point about witnesses and documents, they make the argument, the president's counsel, that the president couldn't participate. In the House process, because they believe I don't believe it's right. But because they they house could.

[00:01:13.02]
The president couldn't participate in the House process because it didn't go by the rules of the Constitution and what was required. Here in the Senate, we're doing it exactly. As the Constitution requires, will they participate? Where will they find some other excuse? So the president's council is criticizing the case against the president for lack of sources close to the president, while at the same time blocking testimony from witnesses close to the president. It makes no sense. And even if you're on the Republican side, I don't think the House managers did.

[00:01:56.04]
I don't think the president's council did a very good job. There are gaping holes in their testimony. They spent about 30 minutes refuting something that the House never said, that in July and August the quid pro quo was for military assistance. It wasn't. It was for a meeting. But I believe that the House managers are coming in here and I'll leave that to them to refute point by point. But they have a very good Web site where they do refute this.

[00:02:28.09]
But. The bottom line is that. The even if you're a Republican, even if you think they made a good case, as I hear some of the Republicans saying, no one denies that the House made a good case. Even Republicans say the House managers made a good case. So if you're a Republican and you think that the case was that was made today with strong. Then why not have witnesses and documents? If you think both sides made their case, that's what a trial would do.

[00:03:06.09]
To just quote one of my colleagues, Senator Gellibrand. To my colleagues, don't bury your head in the sand and then complain about it being dark. There's real evidence, there's real facts. And another thing Mr. Philbin talked about, the judicial right of cross-examination and how it was so sacred in Western jurisprudence. What is cross examination involve witnesses? So the bottom line is very simple. We've been making the argument that we need witnesses, we need documents.

[00:03:47.03]
We're making the argument that it won't take very long to get them as part of the trial. Today. We thank the president's council for one thing. They made our case even stronger. Senator Merkley. The president's council emphasized three words from the beginning. BURDEN OF PROOF. That the House managers carry that responsibility. BURDEN of proof. Well, they're absolutely right. That is the way it works. But the only way you can fulfill the burden of proof is to have access to witnesses and documents.

[00:04:36.05]
So for anyone to argue there is a burden of proof, but then say, but I'm sorry, we're not going to let you call witnesses. You have the burden of proof. But we're not going to let you have access to the documents. That is called a rigged trial. That's the type of trial you would expect in Russia. Or in China, but not here in the United States of America. Not here in the U.S. Senate, where we have a constitutional responsibility to have a full and fair trial.

[00:05:16.04]
And in the course of their presentation, they kept emphasizing the importance of witnesses and documents. They raised the argument, well, that possibly the president had a policy reason for denying aid. Now remember that every time the team was asked, a top team was asked, they'd say the president gave no reason, no reason. Well, so if they want to prove that the president had good policy reasons, that's access to witnesses and documents, they said, well, maybe, maybe his reason was burden of proof.

[00:05:59.04]
But that's not burden of proof. But that it was burden sharing. Well, do they have documents that show the president saying, I'm withholding this aid because of burden-sharing? They made the case for access to witnesses and documents. And then they made this big claim that the entire denial of the subpoenas was based on, well, the full House never authorized the committee. Well, the whole house did. On October 30, first they passed a resolution and they proceeded to say that we, the whole House are authorizing the subpoenas that have been issued by the investigative committees.

[00:06:46.03]
So even if the president's team had a point before October thirty first, they certainly didn't have it after October 30 first. Another words they have no case to make for completely stonewalling the access to witnesses and documents. Thanks, Jeff. Hi, everyone. Before I talk about my reaction to the president's council's presentation today, I just want to say one thing about the attacks on Lieutenant Colonel Venkman and the questioning of his loyalty to this country. It is a soldier's duty to carry out the missions and orders that he is given, but it also is his duty to question unlawful orders and to speak out when he thinks that something is wrong.

[00:07:40.06]
And. Some of my colleagues have attacked him because he did what he thought was right. That is not acceptable. That is UN American Ambassador Taylor served with honor in Vietnam and he, I think, also remembers a lesson about people who had carried out orders that were unlawful. The My Lai massacre is one of those lessons. Let me make it clear, you may not agree with the witnesses, but we do not attack them. And we did not attack especially a combat veterans service and dedication and duty to this country.

[00:08:18.00]
That said. America is about freedom and justice. We are about what is right. I've served on a jury. I've been a jury foreman in a trial. And one of the things that we had in a jury were witnesses and documents and both sides were able to present their case. I would think that the president's counsel and the president's team would want to call witnesses in order to exonerate him, that they would want to show us the evidence. That proves his innocence.

[00:08:51.06]
Instead of this, this is what we get highly redacted statements from members of his administration that we cannot even read what's under them. Show us show us the evidence that proves the president's innocence. Many people are getting their news solely on Fox News and are not getting the full story of the trial because they're not even airing the trial. I think those folks would want to see witnesses and hear from witnesses and hear and see the cross-examination. That's the American thing to do.

[00:09:28.03]
You get to face your accusers. You get to bring your documents, your witnesses, and you get to make your case. Well, then let's do it. The final presenter this morning talked about how Rush the House trial was at 70 plus days. And that was such a rush to get to the end because we wanted to go home for Christmas. Well, then, let's not rush this process. Let's go ahead and take the time and let American democracy work so that the rest of the world can see that in America, no one is above the law, but also in America, everyone gets a chance to present their witnesses, get a chance to have their say.

[00:10:08.05]
Let's show that to the world what America and American justice about is about. After all, we have the absolute purse, right. Person presiding. Right now, the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court. Who better? When is a better time? Now is the time. Let's have witnesses. Let's have the full documents. Thank you. Thank you. Well, here's what I think we saw today after three days of the House managers thoroughly and compellingly laying out the data and the evidence around the two charges against the president.

[00:10:49.01]
Obstruction and abuse of power. We saw today very much what Manager Schiff predicted. We would see facts or information that appeared to more muddy the water than lay out anything in particular attacks on the managers and the whistleblower. Whatever the heck that means the most important thing that I came away with from today. Now, unlike Senator Duckworth, I've never served on a jury before. This is my very first jury service. And it never occurred to me that on my first jury service, I would be involved in a trial where there is no cross-examine of cross-examination of the witnesses, there is no documents and evidence that we are able to see brought forth.

[00:11:32.09]
I agree with Senator Schumer. That was the primary point that I felt was made today by the president's counsel, whether they intended it or not. Yeah. You know, one just final point. All we're after is the truth. The facts. The Senate, the president's lawyers said, well, it's just speculation as to what was in President Trump's mind. Well, it wasn't. There were real facts there. But even if you're one of the Republican senators and you buy their argument that it was just speculation that was in the president's mind.

[00:12:07.09]
The president's lawyers totally speculated. They said, oh, he's for fighting corruption elsewhere, but no direct evidence that he said, I want to cut off the aid to fight corruption.

[00:12:21.04]
They said, oh, well, he he's he's cut off aid to other countries, but no direct facts about why he cut off the aid here. Well, there were some, but they say the exact eyewitnesses weren't there. Witnesses documents are the exact eye witnesses you want to get the truth. The president's lawyers proved today, if you really want the truth, you want witnesses. You want documents. We hope our Republican colleagues will agree with that. Yes.

[00:12:57.09]
What is your level of competence at this point that you will find those four Republicans you need to join with you to introduce? Look, you have anything with them? What do you say to people like Lisa Murkowski, Senator Murkowski, who seems to have misgivings about the delay that would be caused when you're at the White House? OK.

[00:13:12.04]
Let me answer both questions. I say to my colleagues that this is truth. We want truth. That's what we're pursuing. We don't know what the outcome will be, but we want truth. And it's a hard road to get for Republicans because of the enormous pressure they might feel.

[00:13:33.08]
But if you keep what I have learned through all my years in politics and all my years in life, if you're right and you keep fighting for the truth, you will prevail. We would be derelict in our responsibility if we didn't fight for the. Do I think it's easy to get for Republicans? Absolutely not. Do I think we have a chance if we keep pushing and pushing and after today, maybe even a little more so because of the case that was made inadvertently by the president's managers?

[00:14:03.06]
Yes, I do. In terms of length of time, I don't. I think that's a red herring. When you have a subpoena signed by the chief justice, supported by both parties and enshrined in the constitution, I don't think that any court is either going to is not going to honor that subpoena. And I think it will happen very fast.

[00:14:27.02]
Yes. Sure.

[00:14:27.09]
You have the house have gone to court and fight to get this witness testimony because they were concerned that this could drag out the process.

[00:14:35.09]
They're making this deal because I mean, I mean, I know they made it very clear it would have taken us past the election. They cited the case of the president's former lawyer. You know, McGann, they cited the case of Meghann that it would take forever in the Senate. We believe it's different. And with the documents for sure, you could get those documents in a minute. They're all piled up. They're all compiled. You get them very, very fast.

[00:15:04.05]
Yes, Senator.

[00:15:05.01]
The president's defense today charged over and over again. The Democrats hid evidence, even using clips from the public hearings and public testimony to say that he was that there was not a thing they hid.

[00:15:18.04]
They talked about the whole letter. They emphasized different parts of it. If you want to make that argument. Did did did the president's lawyers refer to the most important part of that letter, which is I need something from you. Yes. To that point, they are arguing that that transfer that the transfer did, because they talk about, third, balancing out the supporters in Ukraine, and also that by using the word us, the president, we're showing that it was not his own personal interest.

[00:15:52.08]
Look, the bottom line is, first, it's not a full transcript. You know, there is still a little dots there, but they left out the most important point. Parts of the letter and all the evidence that the house managers very laboriously went over for three days made it very clear. That what the president was intending. The language indicates it. The proof of all the other witnesses and what happened in the following several months is exactly the case.

[00:16:24.01]
I like, you know, and they cited well, the president said it's not a quid pro quo. I thought shift demolished that argument yesterday said. Well, it's well known in the criminal law. When the defendant says, I didn't do it, we should drop the case. Yes.

[00:16:38.01]
You mentioned a few moments ago the pressure that Republicans might be feeling to acquit or to vote against witnesses and documents. What kind of pressure do you believe they are facing to vote against witnesses and documents?

[00:16:52.06]
Well, look, I mean, you'll have to look at each each person in each situation. But, you know, obviously, President Trump is not somebody who sees the other side when it comes to what he thinks he needs and is not is someone who doesn't take compromise, doesn't take argument against and proves pretty vindictive when you oppose him. Ask Jeff Flake, asked Bob Corker. The president's attorneys have made, at least judging by a lot of acting going on, a lot of statements that are materially false, things that they really never get away with in a court.

[00:17:28.07]
But this is a trial. Do you think that these attorneys should possibly be subject to some sort of professional sanction in the same way? And look, I'm not going to get him to read all about it.

[00:17:41.00]
Well, I think, again, as I said, they help make our case for witnesses and documents. They did not make they they had a very case that was totally full of holes. They didn't contest any of the facts. Again, it was diversions. They didn't contest that.

[00:17:57.04]
The fact of why the military aid was cut off and why everyone was so concerned and why Mr. Bolton said, I don't want to be part of the drug deal. They talked about, oh, he cut off aid to other places. It wasn't very strong. So, you know, when you don't have the facts or the law, you try to distract and deflect. Yes. Senator, wasn't it more comfortable for Democrats? The amount of time they spent on Congressman Schiff and the way he handled that hearing, that this is one thing that they really latched on to work?

[00:18:29.00]
Again, I think they Lowy's look for diversions. There are, you know, a few days ago, it was an Adler. Few days before that, it was Pelosi. That's what they do. We have to look forward for the. We have to go forward and look at the truth and not be diverted by these kinds of ad hominem attacks. Thank you, everybody.