Democrats were hit with a denial in their first attempt to amend the rules dictating the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on Tuesday, when the GOP-led Senate rejected an effort by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to demand the White House hand over documents and other records related to Ukraine.
What are the details?
Sen. Schumer put forth a pair of amendments that would have required the Trump administration to provide documentation of conversations and records among top administration officials and the president relating to Ukraine and the timing of military aid released to the country.
According to The Hill, the first amendment offered by Democrats requested documents related the President Trump’s phone calls with the Ukrainian government and any communication between White House aids regarding Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden or his son, Hunter Biden..
The second amendment sought records from top officials at the State Department, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. It also sought communications with Rudy Giuliani, a personal attorney for President Trump.
Both amendments were tabled in separate 53-47 party-line votes.
Ahead of the votes, Democratic impeachment managers sent to the Senate by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) urged senators to support the two amendments to the rules resolution released Monday night by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
“The Senate should act on this subpoena now, at the outset of the trial,” impeachment manager Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) argued, according to the Washington Examiner. “Documents that are directly relevant to evaluating the president’s scheme. If it won’t even ask for this evidence, this trial, and your judgement, will be questioned.”
Sen. Schumer told reporters prior to amendment votes, “No one can argue that these documents are not directly related…People should understand that the documents can shed as much light on why the aid was cut off, who did it.”
What’s the background?
House Democrats approved two articles of impeachment against the president over allegations that he withheld aid to the country in exchange for dirt on Joe Biden, whose son, Hunter Biden, sat on the board of a Ukrainian gas firm while his father was vice president and former President Barack Obama’s point man on Ukraine. The firm, Burisma, has been the subject of multiple corruption probes by Ukrainian prosecutors.
President Trump has repeatedly denied there was any quid pro quo relating to the Ukrainian aid.