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  Senate Democratic Leadership Hold News Conference  CSPAN  December 17, 2019 11:01pm-11:28pm EST

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concerns about your ability to be an impartial juror given your about ther comments white house? an. mcconnell: this is political process, there is nothing judicial about it. impeachment is a political decision. the house made a partisan political decision to impeach, i would anticipate we will have a largely partisan outcome in the senate. i am not impartial about this at all. waiting for this process to make its way through the house, and other the house completed the investigation, do you believe the president acted appropriately when asking ukraine to investigate his rivals? sen. mcconnell: that will be argued in the senate in the coming days and my assumption is that we will turn to this after the first of the year. thank you.
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>> is dick durbin here? there you are. sen. durbin: thank you everybody. the house is moving forward as you know with two articles of impeachment against the president of the united states. the gravity of the charges and our sworn duty to uphold and defend the constitution demand that all senators put party, put country over party and examine the facts without prejudice or partisanship. is not lost on the members of the united states senate that the white house made a choice to block witnesses from testifying under oath, and a has refused to provide documents that might disprove the evidence against the president.
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anyone in america watching this would draw the same logical conclusion, that the president has something to hide and republican senators, too many of them, our intent in helping him hide it. -- leader lead or mcconnell after going on fox news has already made up his mind about the senate impeachment trial. it is clear that senator mcconnell wants to use the senate to help heart is a page in a cover-up. in a cover-up. today, he was asked here, i believe, are you an impartial juror? what was the word? >> [indiscernible] americans concerned [indiscernible] sen. schumer: he seemed to proudly say no. i would ask everyone of our
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republican colleagues, do you want someone who proudly says they are not impartial to be on a jury judging high crimes and misdemeanors, serious charges against the president of the united states? furthermore, we haven't heard a single argument from leader mcconnell as to why the witnesses we have requested shouldn't come forward. , he talksck to 1999 about other extraneous things. leader mcconnell, come to this microphone and given explicit bolton or mulvaney or griffin shouldn't testify. one explicit reason, not what happened 20 years ago but an explicit reason now. , why is theresident republican leader so afraid to
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have these witnesses come testify? they are members of the president's own staff. they are his people. these aides be able to defend president trump under oath in a senate trial? shouldn't the president of the united states, if he has a reasonable defense, use the opportunity to present evidence to clear his name and have witnesses testify to the president's innocence? what is leader mcconnell afraid of? was it -- what is president trump afraid of? ?he truth, the facts the american people understand what is happening here. new abc washington post poll shows today, seven out of 10 americans believe the witnesses should testify. 64% of republicans believe the witnesses should testify.
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when 64% of republicans believe the witnesses should testify, a republican senators, when they go home, are going to be asked a lot of questions. way, they are trying to say the senate, the house didn't make a strong case. they made a very strong case. that is why president trump and mitch mcconnell are so afraid to have these witnesses testify. if it was a weak case they wouldn't mind. so with president trump and senate republicans are trying to conceal evidence of block testimony, it is probably not because the evidence is going to help their case. it is because they are trying to .over up senators who oppose having witnesses and getting documents have to up -- explain why less evidence is better for the president and more evidence.
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senator durbin? durbin: thanks, chuck. this would be the third time in the history of the united states where there is actually an impeachment trial in the senate. richard nixon, with the prospect looming of an impeachment trial, resigned. this is more -- only the third time this has happened. our colleagues asked, what is it like to the handful of us who were here during the clinton impeachment. it is a much different environment and different atmosphere on the floor of the senate everyday. there is a realization when the chief justice of the supreme court appears in his robes to preside over the senate chamber and the house managers open their table for business on the floor in the senate chamber, that we are in a different circumstance, a circumstance which requires us to rise to the location. this is about more than a trial of donald trump, it is a trial
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in the senate and i would say to senator mcconnell, who spent his lifetime working in the senate as a staffer and a member of ofs body, the reputation this body is at stake. we have to stand up and appear to the american people as the we accept our constitutional responsibility honestly and fairly and direct leak. -- directly. in the nixon and clinton situations, there were extensive investigations that led up to the impeachment trial, the purported impeachment trial in an's case, in the senate. there was a body of evidence already there. sworn depositions had been taken. that is not the case here. had 17e here is, we have witnesses appear before the house of representatives intelligence committee and speak to the merits of the charges against the president. aside from those, i don't know of other sworn testimony that might be presented to us. for chuck schumer on behalf of
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the democrats to ask her witnesses to come before us is strictly to ask the basic evidence, which the american people should witness as part of this proceeding. i will join him and saying the obvious, if there is a witness help there who would exonerate donald trump, wouldn't he want him called? i don't know if there is or not. according to mitch mcconnell we may never find out. shame on us if we let that happen. at this point in time we owe it to the american people, if we raise our hands and swear impartial justice, to demonstrate it. by don't demonstrate it appearing with sean hannity and saying i made up my mind. the president will survive this no matter what, we are following his orders and instructions. that is not impartial justice or anyone -- anything near it. i hope four republican senators will think enough of this institution and most importantly our constitution to stand up and say basic evidence is part of
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any fair and full trial in the united states. we need to have evidence brought before us not only for the senate but for the american people and for the debt we owe to future generations. >> thank you. months, whilefew leader mcconnell has wasted time blocking nearly 400 bills the house sent us to keep our communities safe from gun violence or address the climate crisis or lower health care costs, the house has followed its constitutional duty to get to the bottom of president trump and his associates' action regarding ukraine. the house conducted a careful and thorough investigation. it gathered and inform us amount of evidence and the gravity of the resulting charges against the president are very serious. those charges as we know are that the president has abused the power of our country's highest office to his own
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political benefit by asking a foreign government to help win the next election. he obstructed congress from conducting our constitutional responsibility to oversee the executive branch, a responsibility intended to prevent circumstances like this from occurring in the first place. let's be clear, that is exactly what our founding fathers feared could jeopardize this democracy. but simply, if you have a owes his who thinks he reelection to a foreign government, you have a president who can't be trusted to put our country first. those of the charges and that -- those are the charges and that is not someone -- not something anyone should be willing to allow. should the house move forward to impeach, each senator here has to consider the strong case the house has put forward as a citizen and a patriot, not a partisan. leader mcconnell must allow a
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fair trial. in which all of the facts come presupposing an outcome or strategizing within his own party on a republican .nly approach it is absolutely imperative if the white house has any evidence demonstrating the president's byocence, they provide it allowing relevant witnesses to testify under oath. we all deserve that. if he has that evidence. people are following this closely across the country. they all want what is best for our country, so i hope each senator considers their responsibility to our democracy, remember the oath they took when they came to congress, and does their part to ensure this trial is fair and honest and one this country needs. >> my colleagues and i understand what a historic
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moment this is. i think we all do, and we understand we have a responsibility to move forward with integrity and transparency and openness and fairness. that is what we are talking about today. we have two kinds of responsibilities, one is to protect the constitution, to make it clear no one is above the law, and that we move forward when there is abuse of power in our country. we also have a responsibility to get things done people want to get done every day. i just want to close this discussion by speaking about the other piece of that, which is the fact that while the house is dealing with constitutional responsibilities on impeachment, they are also passing legislation in an historic manner, in terms of the number of bills they have been able to pass that directly affect the american people, make their lives better. over 300 bills waiting on mitch mcconnell's desk, nine out of 10 of them are bipartisan.
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if you are doing both, and we are doing neither. the impeachment hasn't come to us yet. yet we are not dealing with any of that legislation because it has been sitting on mr. mcconnell's desk in what we now dubbed the legislative graveyard. the american people are united on the need to reduce the outrageous cost of prescription drugs. the house took action. mitch mcconnell will not. the american people want folks with pre-existing conditions on their health care to know they are protected. the house took action, mitch mcconnell and the republicans will not. the louismaking sure act which passed the house one hundred 46 days ago gets action in the senate to protect important pensions for all pensioners across the country, nothing being done. , where womenence
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and children are waiting to have the changes, the reauthorization that needs to happen, house acted, senate will not. finally, 90% of the american people want congress to pass the universal background checks. we are seeing everyday 100 americans killed everyday to gun violence. we have had over 396 mass shootings just this year. the house has passed bipartisan legislation. mitch mcconnell and the republicans will not act. we could save lives today. at this point, they don't seem to care enough to act. it is time for mitch mcconnell to stop stalling, do his job and on a fairus constitutional process going forward on impeachment. >> i have two more things to say. again, i am amazed what mitch mcconnell said. mitch mcconnell said proudly, he
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is not an impartial juror. do the american people want mitch mcconnell not to be an impartial juror in this situation? and i would ask everyone of my of my -- my republican senate colleagues, are you impartial jurors or are you like mitch mcconnell, proud not to be one you go second point, leader mcconnell talked about a bifurcation, let's do the easy stuff first. no. the key issues here are witnesses and documents. we should decide those from the very beginning. in fact, many in my caucus have voiced the fear that mitch set upll would do, just how many hours each side has to discuss things, then shut things down before we got witnesses. we should decide witnesses and documents from the beginning,
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not put it off. they are the most important decisions we must make. >> [indiscernible] can you legitimately look people in the eye and [indiscernible] sen. schumer: i am withholding any final decision until we hear all the evidence. one of the reasons we want these witnesses and documents is so we can hear the full, full length and breadth of what happened. i don't know what these four witnesses will say. perhaps they will exculpate mcconnell, or they will exculpate trump. further condemn him. we don't know the answer. before we make final decisions, we ought to hear them. >> in terms of sort of
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thetiating to have some of republicans testify, they want to hear from the bidens, they want to hear from, what about their witnesses in exchange for witnesses? would that be an impartial effort? senatorumer: i await mcconnell to call me and say let's discuss it. the witnesses we have chosen have direct eyewitness knowledge of the facts at issue in the house impeachment charges. the republicans are talking about pulling witnesses that have nothing to do with the charges, even though they may not like them. no one has said how hunter biden or joe biden had direct knowledge of the charges against president trump and what he did. , most of myyou republican colleagues do not, are afraid of republicans making this into a circus where conspiracy theories with no
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basis in fact interviewed on the solemn nature -- in truth -- intrude on the solemn nature of the charges against the president. >> [indiscernible] talk a little bit about the importance [indiscernible] sen. schumer: if you want to move this trial, an america we be speedy andould fair, trials should be speedy unfair. we agree with both. the best way to move things along as to get the documents ahead of time and we need leader mcconnell to agree. we should get them early on, go over them and see what import they have on the trial without any question. what leader mcconnell is doing is trying to avoid and delay, whether by saying we should vote on the easy stuff now and kick the important issues down the road until later, which i think could well be subterfuge to never vote on them. no, no, this gentleman.
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you have support from democrats and republicans to back your proposals. is that still the case yet of the number of self-professed moderate republicans seem to be more inclined to go along with -- sen. schumer: i don't see a lot of republicans saying they are taking this seriously or not answering the question about whether with it -- whether the witnesses should testify. i didn't say we have the votes, i said i expect we would get the votes given how fair the are, andwe are making we have buttressed by the fact that 64% of republicans in the country agree with us. >> even under the clinton procedures, the president [indiscernible] get to 24 or 25 hours to present their case. [indiscernible]
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to present rudy giuliani -- sen. schumer: they can present what they want to. i think if they try to come up , oftenl these extraneous conspiratorial theories that have no basis in fact, they will lose in the eyes of the american people, and i don't think most republicans, even in the senate, want to see that. >> are you worried, given the republicans [indiscernible] if trump gets acquitted by the senate, are you worried this might embolden him to metal [indiscernible] -- ischumer: i don't believe up we don't do this seriously, america is at risk because that will mean we will never have a real impeachment trial. if we'd can't get the fundamental and basic facts out to the public, and for the senators to hear, this president could be further involved, and future presidents could be future emboldened. the founding fathers had
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impeachment as one of the most serious and important checks on a president who overreaches. if the president can advocate any serious trial by withholding facts and witnesses and documents, the country has future trouble. thank you, everybody. >> c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. morning, congresswoman belle deming's of florida and republican congressman ben cline join us to discuss wednesday's full house vote on the impeachment of president trump. watch washington journal wednesday morning. join the discussion. what isis a look at live wednesday on the c-span network.
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the house meets at 9:00 a.m. eastern to take up a resolution to impeach president trump. members will have one hour to debate a rule that sets up six hours of general debate equally divided before a final vote on two articles of impeachment. abuse and obstruction of congress. that is live on c-span. on c-span2, the senate considers judicial nominations starting at 9:30 a.m. eastern. in the evening, president trump holds a campaign rally in battle creek, michigan. on c-span three, the justice general,t's inspector michael horowitz, testifies before the senate homeland security committee about his report on the origins of the fbi's russia investigation. that gets underway at 10:00 a.m. eastern. >> president trump sent a letter to house speaker nancy pelosi
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expressing his opposition to the impeachment process. as the full house moves forward with the vote. you can read the letter at c-span.org by clicking on the link at the top of the page. the president answered a few questions on impeachment today while meeting with the president of guatemala in the oval office. >> are you going to watch the house proceedings? president trump: the whole impeachment thing is a hoax. we look forward to getting onto the senate. to lawyersentitled are witnesses or anything in the house. it is a total sham. when you have a guy like shifty make up- shifty schiff a statement, and guatemala they handle things much tougher than that and because of immunity, because of immunity, he can't be prosecuted. he took a statement, totally
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made it up. it was a lie, it was a fraud and you can't do those things. this has been a total sham from the beginning. everybody knows it. i have never seen the republican party so united. we got 100% of the vote. i believe the senate is equally well united. i watched mitch mcconnell this morning, i watched numerous people last night, senators, and i think we are equally united. they know it is a hoax, a witchhunt and it is a continuation. it has been going on for three years and it probably started before i even won the election based on what we are finding out with the insurance policy quotes and other things. it is a disgrace. >> will you let senator mcconnell decide on witnesses? : we will alsop have to decide on the usmca, a very important deal with mexico cut -- mexico, canada, ourselves.
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to make him i would let the senate decide on that. be honest i would let the senate decide on that. took a perfect phone call that i had with the president of call.e, a perfect you know it, they all know it, nothing said wrong in that call. to impeach the president of the united states for that is a disgrace. future,esidents in the unless they do something about this come on the presidents will have to live with this and every time they do something that is a , even ift unpopular they are 100% right, because i did a great job, when you look at the jobs we created, when you look at the economy we created, look -- rebuilding the military, when you look at what we have done with choice, veteran's choice, with accountability, with what we have done to
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protect the second amendment, nobody has done as much as i have done in the first three years. thank you all very much. [reporters shouting] >> follow the impeachment process and the administrator's response on c-span. watch live unfiltered coverage .n primetime streamed on-demand at c-span.org/impeachment or listen from wherever you are with a free c-span radio app. will debate articles of impeachment against president trump wednesday on abuse of power and obstruction of congress. stay with c-span as members of the house debate and move to vote on both articles of impeachment live on the house floor wednesday. watch unfiltered coverage on c-span, online at c-span.org/impeachment or listen live f