(CNSNews.com) - The way the Democrats see it, President Donald Trump should prove he's innocent of abusing power and flouting Congress, rather than having Democrats prove his guilt.
On Tuesday night, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) indicated that Democrats are still in search of "the facts," and they need more witnesses to make their case.
"If we can't get the facts, then no president can be impeached, and this president and then other presidents will have almost no check on overreaching actions that defy the Constitution," Schumer told CNN's Erin Burnett on Tuesday night.
Schumer also said Trump shouldn't complain about being denied "due process" when Democrats are "yearning for him to take advantage of due process."
We in the Senate have invited him to allow four witnesses who are extremely close, had eyewitness accounts of what Trump did that created the impeachment document -- Mick Mulvaney and John Bolton and two other officials who were heavily involved.
And if he wants due process, that means the right to be heard. Donald Trump is refusing the right to be heard, and I would ask him and, frankly, Mitch McConnell and my Republican colleagues, what is so horrible about asking people to come testify who have eyewitness accounts of what's happening here?
The president is really just covering up. He has no rebuttal. He has had no -- he has issued no exculpatory evidence of the charges against him, and we're giving him the opportunity to -- bring people to the trial.
You know, a trial without witnesses is not a trial at all, and so, we believe very strongly that the president -- that these witnesses should come, that we should -- that documents should be forthcoming. That's what the due process clause is all about, right? The right to be heard.
The president refuses the right to be heard, and it seems quite likely is because he knows he's guilty.
Two House committees, rather than wait for the courts to compel witnesses, rushed to impeach President Trump, saying he would steal the 2020 election unless they acted quickly.
Democrats based their two articles of impeachment on second-hand testimony. Not a single witness testified that they had direct knowledge of President Trump conditioning U.S. military aid to Ukraine on President Zelensky announcing the investigations Trump wanted, including one into the Bidens' dealings with Ukraine.
(One witness, Ambassador Gordon Sondland, told Congress that Trump told him directly he wanted "nothing" from Ukraine. "I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo," Sondland testified Trump told him.)
Speaking on the Senate floor Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said it's not up to the Senate to do the investigatory work the House should have done prior to impeaching Trump.
But Schumer told CNN impeachment is "solemn," "serious" and "very, very important":
"If we can't get the facts, then no president can be impeached, and this president and then other presidents will have almost no check on overreaching actions that defy the Constitution."
Schumer has asked McConnell to call four specific witnesses, including former National Security Director John Bolton, a Bolton aide, Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and a Mulvaney aide.
"Mitch McConnell, by going on Sean Hannity, by announcing that he doesn't want to have witnesses, he doesn't want to have documents, is not rising to the level that a senator should rise to. He's being a pure partisan," Schumer complained. (McConnell has said the entire impeachment push is nothing but a partisan exercise by Democrats.)
Schumer said, "My hope and my expectation is that there will be enough Republican senators who will not follow that path -- a path leading to trouble, a path leading to real problems for this country, and the rule of law. All we need is four Republicans to vote with us to produce these witnesses, to produce the documents," he added.
Schumer said he expects that "some will."
I think that every single Republican, every single one should look into their conscience, should say, how are we going to be remembered here. And if they're going to put together just a sham show trial where there are no new witnesses, there's no new facts and each side just recites what they know already and there is just a quick vote, history will not look at them kindly and their consciences will not look on them kindly.
So, I'm hopeful we can get a whole bunch. I wouldn't say who, but -- it might come from people you never expect who might rise to the occasion. You know, the impeachment process is awesome in the biblical sense, awe-inspiring.
And I hope -- I hope, I pray and I think that people will rise to the occasion. But I'll tell you this -- when those Republican senators, all of them, when they go home people are going to ask them, what's wrong with having witnesses.
Schumer pointed to polls indicating that a majority of Americans (and Republicans) think witnesses should be called.
McConnell, however, will not oblige. He has denounced the House impeachment case as a "slap-dash work product."
"The House chose this road," McConnell said on Tuesday. "It is their duty to investigate. It is their duty to meet the very high bar for undoing a national election. As Speaker Pelosi herself once said, it is the House's obligation to quote, 'build an iron-clad case to act.' That's speaker Pelosi. 'It's the House's obligation to build an iron-clad case to act,' end quote. If they fail, they fail.
"It's not the Senate's job to leap into the breach and search desperately for ways to get to guilty," McConnell added.
McConnell said if the Democrats' case is "this deficient, this thin," to the point where they still need witnesses, "the answer is not for the judge and jury to cure it over here in the Senate. The answer is the House should not impeach on this basis in the first place."