Chuck Todd Urges Schumer to Call Trump to Testify

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During NBC News live special coverage of the Senate impeachment trial on Tuesday, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd urged Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to call President Trump as a witness and get him “under oath on this.”

Wrapping up an interview with the liberal lawmaker during a brief mid-afternoon break, Todd demanded: “Senator Schumer, are we ever going to have the President under oath?” The anchor argued: “Bill Clinton was under oath, Richard Nixon, after the fact, went under oath with the grand jury. Is Donald Trump ever going to be under oath on this? Is he going to be a witness you call?”

 

 

Schumer predictably wailed: “Ask him. He won’t even let the people around him testify. This has been the most massive obstruction, absolute obstruction that we have ever had.” Todd pressed: “Can’t you call him?”

At the top of the 3:00 p.m. ET hour, after the trial session ended for the day, Todd continued pleading to NBC legal analyst and former Mueller team investigator Andrew Weissmann:

I’ve got a question for you, and it was similar to sort what I asked Senator Schumer. Bill Clinton appeared under oath via video tape before the Senate trial. Like I said, Richard Nixon eventually ended up under oath after he left office. You couldn’t get Donald Trump under oath during Mueller. Is there a reasonable way for the Senate to get the President under oath?

While acknowledging that senators “could actually call him,” Weissmann advised: “I think that one of the ways the Democrats, I think, if they’re smart, they may realize that they’re never going to get the Republicans to go along with that. So I think one strategy would be to really point out that all of the evidence that is unrebutted by the President...”

Earlier in the segment, Nightly News anchor Lester Holt asked Todd: “If witnesses are allowed and then there is an acquittal, and then if witnesses aren’t allowed and there’s an acquittal, are Republicans potentially in a no-win here?” Todd declared: “Well, I could see them thinking they’re in a no-win.”

So according to NBC, any acquittal of Trump equals a “no-win” scenario for the GOP.

Here is a transcript of the two January 28 discussions:

2:40 PM ET

(...)

CHUCK TODD: Senator Schumer, are we ever going to have the President under oath? Bill Clinton was under oath, Richard Nixon, after the fact, went under oath with the grand jury. Is Donald Trump ever going to be under oath on this? Is he going to be a witness you call?

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER: Ask him. He won’t even let the people around him testify. This has been the most massive obstruction, absolute obstruction...

TODD: Can’t you call him?

SCHUMER: ...that we have ever had. Well, you know, we’d have to check the law and all of that, but if he wanted to come, I’m sure that his own lawyers would let him come.

(...)

3:00 PM ET

LESTER HOLT: Chuck, talk a moment about the optics of this. If witnesses are allowed and then there is an acquittal, and then if witnesses aren’t allowed and there’s an acquittal, are Republicans potentially in a no-win here?

TODD: Well, I could see them thinking they’re in a no-win. I happen to believe that if they’re worried about their Senate majority, they need to look like – and if they’re complaining the way the house behaved themselves, then they can’t act the same way. Right? They have to somehow be – if they’re defining being bigger as not as partisan as the House, then they may need to show that they are open minded on getting more information and witnesses.

But Andrew Weissmann, I’ve got a question for you, and it was similar to sort what I asked Senator Schumer. Bill Clinton appeared under oath via video tape before the Senate trial. Like I said, Richard Nixon eventually ended up under oath after he left office. You couldn’t get Donald Trump under oath during Mueller. Is there a reasonable way for the Senate to get the President under oath?

ANDREW WEISSMANN: Well, they could actually call him, but I think that one of the ways the Democrats, I think, if they’re smart, they may realize that they’re never going to get the Republicans to go along with that. So I think one strategy would be to really point out that all of the evidence that is unrebutted by the President, so it’s really up to the president to have to come in and say something.

Because right now, just remember, there is no evidence by the President or the Vice President before the Senate on anything that’s happened. They have said things publicly, they have had other people say things, including yesterday they had the chief of staff and the Vice President. But that’s sort remarkable. I mean, you have the chief of staff of the Vice President? You would expect that to come from the Vice President or the President. But clearly if you’re the President or the Vice President’s counsel, you’re going to be saying stay silent because you don’t want to end up saying something that can be proved to be false.

(...)

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