Senator Schumer says if Republicans weren’t so scared, they would convict Trump

EXCLUSIVE: The Senate majority leader tells theGrio: 'I bet, if it was a secret ballot ... they would convict' Trump.

Loading the player...

On the eve of Donald J. Trump‘s historic second impeachment trial, the American public awaits to see the evidence that will be presented on both sides.

It should not be a surprise that Republicans are expected to deflect from the issue at hand, while Democrats are going to focus sharply on the deadly and illegal Capitol siege that occurred on Jan. 6, 2021, and the events that led up to the break-in they say the former president incited.

Read More: Trump rejects Dems’ request to testify at impeachment trial

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is voting to “convict” Trump. The trial starts Tuesday and Schumer along with the other 99 U.S. senators have been sworn in as jurors in the trial.  Democratic and Republican Senators are weighing whether to convict on the one article of impeachment of inciting an insurrection.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks during a press conference about student debt outside the U.S. Capitol on February 4, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Republicans have yet to subpoena witnesses for the historic event. Video from both sides is expected to be a major component of the trial.

Former Republican Congressman Peter King tells theGrio, “This case is the plausible deniability that the president didn’t intend for that to happen. So, I would put it down in the category of being irresponsible as opposed to being illegal.”

The definition of plausible deniability is the ability of people, typically senior officials in a formal or informal chain of command, to deny knowledge of or responsibility for any damnable actions committed by others in an organizational hierarchy because of a lack or absence of evidence that can confirm their participation, even if they were personally involved in or at least willfully ignorant of the actions.

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) questions the witnesses during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing entitled ‘The Boston Marathon Bombings, One Year On: A Look Back to Look Forward,’ on Capitol Hill, April 9, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Read More: As Trump prosecutor, Rep. Stacey Plaskett gets her say on impeachment

In an exclusive interview with theGrio, Senator Schumer responds to King’s point firmly asserting, “I don’t buy it.” 

His theory is that “Republicans are trying to sweep this under the rug.” The New York senator passionately reminds, “Everyone saw what Donald Trump did. It’s in full view to everybody, and I believe he should be convicted. I have no doubt about it.

Schumer adds, “I think if Republicans weren’t so scared of Donald Trump and his followers in the Republican Party — their big group — they would vote. I bet, if it was a secret ballot, which we can have, they would convict.” 

On Jan. 6, 2021, the world was glued to the scenes at the U.S. Capitol. Trump is accused of inciting the attack at a rally that allegedly prompted the violent march to the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue where the insurrection took place on Capitol Hill.  

Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

Schumer recounts that day vividly as “the best of times” and yet also the “worst of times.”

“I’m on the floor of the Senate. And within a half-hour of my being the next majority leader, I hadn’t even given a speech yet. A police officer grabs my collar not firmly … he has a big bulletproof vest on a machine gun strapped by his waist and he says, you’re in danger, Senator. You’ve got to get out of here,” Schumer recalls to theGrio.

The new Senate majority leader pounded his hand on his home office desk when he said these words: “I was 30 feet from those bigoted insurrectionist, nasty, selfish lawbreakers, criminals.”

Schumer and the other three leaders of the House and Senate were hurriedly taken away to an undisclosed location away from Capitol Hill.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Even with what is known about the January attack, Congressman King feels it is wrong to convict Trump. He is consistent with his thought. While in Congress in the ’90s, King voted against impeaching former President Bill Clinton.

King, however, says as a lawyer he does lay some blame on the doorstep of Trump. “I do think that he created a climate which made that type of conduct almost permissible in their minds,” said King. He also blames the former president for not calling for the insurrectionists to stop sooner that day.

There is some agreement on this point between Schumer and King. Schumer says, ”Donald Trump first told them lies about the election, then encouraged them to come to Washington, then encouraged them to march on the Capitol and … encouraged them to use violence.”

Read More: ‘QAnon Shaman’ says he’s willing to testify in impeachment trial

The investigations of the January attack are still underway. Senator Schumer recently held a meeting with the incoming heads of the Justice Department. The leader met with the attorney general-designate, Merrick Garland, and said, “I hope you go after them to the full extent of the law and I hope you have the resources to do it. “

Federal Judge Merrick Garland delivers remarks after being nominated to be U.S. attorney general by President-elect Joe Biden at The Queen theater January 07, 2021 in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“I said to them, we have to go after these people full throttle. And they said they would. But here’s a way your listeners can actually help,” Schumer adds. “The FBI has a website that has the pictures of seven hundred people or so, who were in the capital, and they’re asking average citizens to go on that website and see if they recognize that face.”

Schumer does not want any plea bargains or reduced sentences for the insurrectionists. 

If convicted, Trump would be barred from running for office again. If not, he is expected to be back in the political game. The question is will Trump be as potent for the Republican Party?

President Donald Trump greets the crowd at the “Stop The Steal” Rally on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

In the court of public opinion, Schumer says Trump’s popularity and poll numbers dropped after the deadly Capitol Hill security breach. He adds, “even people who sort of he had some appeal with his numbers were low 40s. Now they’re low 30s. He’ll try to bring himself back up.”

Donald Trump is the third American president to be impeached. The first was Andrew Jackson in 1868 and the second was Bill Clinton in 1998 and then Donald Trump twice, in 2019 and 2021.

While walking to his White House residence on Monday, President Joe Biden was asked by a member of the press whether he thought his predecessor should lose the right to run for office again.

The president, whose family was often the target of nasty attacks by Trump, told the press that Trump was offered an opportunity to testify on his own behalf in the upcoming impeachment trial and that the U.S. Senate would have to work out the former president’s fate.

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!

TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!

Loading the player...

Share