Dear DNC Member,
See below for updates from the DNC War Room. We encourage you to share this content with your networks and on social media:
- DNC on Senate Republicans Voting Against a Fair Trial
- 1999 Trial vs. McConnell Rules
- BREAKING: Vast Majority Of Americans Want Witnesses In Senate Trial
- Sekulow’s ‘Due Process’ Argument Falls Flat
- We Must Hear From Witnesses
- Why Won’t Senate Republicans Subpoena White House Documents?
Democratic National Committee
DNC on Senate Republicans Voting Against a Fair Trial
In response to every Republican voting against a fair trial and for McConnell’s resolution that brings into doubt whether the Senate will see relevant documents or hear witness testimony, DNC Chair Tom Perez released the following statement:
“Senate Republicans have stacked the deck for Donald Trump with trial rules that are a disgrace to our democracy and an outright insult to the American people. Americans want a fair and honest trial. Time and again tonight, Senate Republicans voted against allowing just that. McConnell’s tactics are unfair and wrong, and these senators — including Senators Collins, Gardner, McSally, and Tillis — will be held accountable at the ballot box for betraying the Constitution they swore to defend.
“Make no mistake: A trial without evidence is not a trial, it’s a cover-up. The Senate must consider the documents and witnesses that are directly relevant to the charges brought against Trump. The precedent is clear: there have been 15 Senate impeachment trials in history, and in every single one, the Senate heard from witnesses. There is simply no reasonable explanation for refusing to conduct a fair trial.”
1999 Trial vs. McConnell Rules
Mitch McConnell is trying to gaslight the American people. He wants us to believe that his ridiculously unfair, biased impeachment rules follow past precedent and he’s repeatedly lied that his procedures mirror the 1999 impeachment trial.
McConnell: “And all we are doing here is saying we are going to get started in exactly the same way that 100 senators agreed to 20 years ago.”
McConnell: “What was good enough for President Clinton in an impeachment trial should have been good enough for President Trump.”
That’s a lie. Here are the facts:
In 1999, the White House produced 90,000 pages of documents. Trump has produced none.
THEN: Clinton “has submitted written interrogatory answers, produced more than 90,000 pages of documents and other items, and provided information informally in a variety of ways.”
NOW: “Following President Trump’s categorical order, not a single document has been produced by the White House, the Office of the Vice President, the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of State, the Department of Defense, or the Department of Energy in response to 71 specific, individualized requests or demands for records in their possession, custody, or control. The subpoenas to federal departments and agencies remain in full force and effect.”
In 1999, nearly 100 witnesses had been interviewed, including the president. Trump has blocked 12 witnesses from testifying and tried to block 15 more.
THEN: “It was conducted by Starr along with more than two dozen lawyers and investigators, who interviewed nearly 100 witnesses and used the compulsory power of the grand jury to secure hundreds of hours of live testimony and tens of thousands of relevant documents. […] In the end, even Clinton himself testified and submitted a blood sample for DNA testing.”
NOW: “At President Trump’s direction, twelve current or former Administration officials refused to testify as part of the House’s impeachment inquiry, ten of whom did so in defiance of duly authorized subpoenas… the State Department, relying on President Trump’s order, attempted to block Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch from testifying, but she fulfilled her legal obligations by appearing at a deposition on October 11 and a hearing on November 15. More than a dozen current and former officials followed her courageous example by testifying at depositions and public hearings over the course of the last two months.”
In 1999, arguments from the prosecution and defense each took place over three days. McConnell’s rules will cram that all into two days each, potentially going deep into the night.
THEN: “Jan. 14: Thirteen House managers begin a three-day opening statement arguing to convict Clinton and remove him from office. Jan. 19: Clinton’s legal team begins its three-day opening statement.”
NOW: “Debate on the merits of the House case against Trump would not begin until 1 p.m. Wednesday and presumably could go past midnight. McConnell (R-Ky.) has portrayed his rules as similar to those the Senate adopted during the 1999 impeachment trial of President Clinton. Though the total number of hours is similar, the two-day limits were not imposed.”
Unlike the 1999 trial, McConnell’s rules wouldn’t allow evidence collected during the House impeachment inquiry to be automatically admitted to the record.
THEN: “When the Clinton trial opened, the Senate ‘admitted into evidence,’ printed and shared with senators all records generated by the House impeachment inquiry into Mr. Clinton.”
NOW: “Though the House’s evidence from the Trump impeachment inquiry would still be printed and shared with senators, it would only be formally considered by the Senate as part of its official record if a majority of senators voted to do so. That vote could only take place after the Senate decided whether to call witnesses and seek additional documents — that is, as the trial moves toward conclusion.”
BREAKING: Vast Majority Of Americans Want Witnesses In Senate Trial
With only a day to go before the Senate impeachment trial begins, no one knows which witnesses will be allowed to testify, or if any witnesses will be allowed at all. There is no legitimate reason for McConnell to block new witness testimony, and all available evidence should be carefully considered.
Americans agree. According to a new poll, 69% believe the Senate trial should feature testimony from new witnesses.
CNN POLL: “Nearly seven in 10 (69%) say that upcoming trial should feature testimony from new witnesses who did not testify in the House impeachment inquiry.”
A majority of Americans also believe that Trump abused his power and obstructed Congress.
CNN POLL: “The new poll also finds majorities of Americans view each of the charges on which Trump will face trial as true: 58% say Trump abused the power of the presidency to obtain an improper personal political benefit and 57% say it is true that he obstructed the House of Representatives in its impeachment inquiry.”
Sekulow’s ‘Due Process’ Argument Falls Flat
The evidence against Trump is overwhelming and irrefutable. Because his attorneys can't argue with the facts, today they launched his defense with the false claim that Trump's been denied due process.
Trump and his lawyers were offered a chance to participate in the House impeachment proceedings. They refused.
New York Times: “The House did offer Mr. Trump and his lawyers a chance to participate in the latter stages of the impeachment proceedings, but he declined to take them up.”
Trump stonewalled the House impeachment inquiry.
New York Times: “Fueling the obstruction of Congress charge, a dozen more witnesses, some with direct knowledge of Mr. Trump’s actions, were blocked from speaking to investigators, and the Trump administration refused to produce a single document under subpoena.”
Impeachment investigators made 71 specific, individualized requests or demands for records from the Trump administration. They got 0 documents in return.
Impeachment Inquiry Report: “Following President Trump’s categorical order, not a single document has been produced by the White House, the Office of the Vice President, the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of State, the Department of Defense, or the Department of Energy in response to 71 specific, individualized requests or demands for records in their possession, custody, or control.”
We Must Hear From Witnesses
For no good reason, Mitch McConnell wants to keep this trial from having any witnesses. He’s thrown up all kinds of hurdles to prevent their testimony.
A fair trial must have witnesses. We need to hear from the multiple first-hand witnesses who have potentially critical information about Trump’s abuse of power, but were blocked by Trump from participating in the House inquiry:
Trump’s former National Security Advisor John Bolton said he is willing to testify before the Senate, but Republicans refuse to let him.
Bolton repeatedly tried to convince Trump to release the military aid to Ukraine — he refused.
Bolton expressed alarm about withholding a White House meeting for Zelensky until Ukraine announced the investigations. He said that he was “not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up.”
Bolton opposed Trump having a call with Ukraine’s president because he said “there could be some talk of investigations or worse.”
At Trump’s direction, his acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney directly coordinated the plot to withhold Ukraine’s security assistance and White House meeting until Ukraine announced an investigation into Trump’s political opponent.
Mulvaney, acting on Trump’s orders, directed OMB to put a hold on military aid to Ukraine.
Mulvaney tapped “the three amigos” to oversee Ukraine policy, sidelining experienced NSC and State Department officials.
Mulvaney directly coordinated the quid pro quo, according to Gordon Sondland.
Mulvaney admitted at a White House press conference that Trump withheld aid until Ukraine agreed to the investigation he wanted.
Sondland told Ukraine that he had an agreement with Mulvaney to trade a White House meeting for investigations into Trump’s political opponents.
Michael Duffey is a key witness to Trump’s abuse of power, and he must testify before the Senate. Duffey, a political appointee at OMB, has intricate knowledge of the military aid freeze that Trump demanded.
Duffey, a political appointee at OMB, was put in charge of the portfolio that included Ukraine’s military aid after career budget officials questioned the legality of withholding the funds.
Duffey proposed the unusual mechanism that the OMB eventually used to get around legal requirements so that it could freeze the military aid.
Duffey told the Pentagon not to allocate Ukraine’s military aid just 90 minutes after Trump’s call with Ukraine’s president.
Duffey has not cooperated with the impeachment process. He defied a subpoena to testify, and the White House withheld 40 pages of his emails.
Robert Blair was a top aide to Trump’s acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who coordinated Trump’s pressure campaign against Ukraine. Blair followed Trump’s directive not to comply with the impeachment investigation and has refused to testify, but we need to hear from him.
Mulvaney emailed Blair in June 2019 asking him to check whether the White House could put a hold on military aid to Ukraine.
Blair listened in on Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine’s president.
Twenty of Blair’s emails about the military aid freeze have been withheld by the White House, even though they were responsive to a FOIA request.
Blair directed OMB to freeze Ukraine’s military aid.
Why Won’t Senate Republicans Subpoena White House Documents?
It’s common sense: in a fair trial, the jury must consider all evidence that is relevant to the case, including documents that are directly related to the charge. In the last presidential impeachment trial, the White House provided tens of thousands of pages of documents to investigators. Trump? Not so much.
In the 1999 impeachment trial, the White House produced 90,000 pages of documents. Trump has produced none.
Despite that, Senate Republicans just torpedoed an amendment to subpoena White House documents that the Trump administration refused to provide to House impeachment investigators. Americans aren’t stupid, we know that more evidence is better than less evidence. Here are just a few of the White House documents the Senate needs to consider:
Emails the Trump administration tried to conceal from the public that make it clear the order to freeze military aid came directly from Trump
JustSecurity: ‘“Clear direction from POTUS to continue to hold.’ This is what Michael Duffey, associate director of national security programs at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), told Elaine McCusker, the acting Pentagon comptroller, in an Aug. 30 email, which has only been made available in redacted form until now. It is one of many documents the Trump administration is trying to keep from the public, despite congressional oversight efforts and court orders in Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation.”
Emails that revealed that only 91 minutes after Trump’s phone call with Zelensky, Michael Duffey directed the Pentagon to withhold Ukraine aid
ABC News: “According to a rough transcript released by the White House, the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky took place between 9:03 and 9:33 a.m. At 11:04 a.m., an official with the White House's budget office, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Mike Duffey, sent an email to Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist, the chief of staff to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and the Pentagon's chief financial officer telling them to withhold the aid to Ukraine, the documents showed.”
Emails between Robert Blair and Michael Duffey that the Trump administration is refusing to turn over despite a court order
New York Times: “The Trump administration disclosed on Friday that there were 20 emails between a top aide to President Trump’s acting chief of staff and a colleague at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget discussing the freeze of a congressionally mandated military aid package for Ukraine.”
A whole host of other documents we don’t know about because of Trump’s unprecedented obstruction