• McConnell-Schumer meeting lasted 20 minutes
  • No announcement on start date of impeachment trial
  • Schumer asked McConnell to consider his proposal over the holidays: Schumer's spokesman

A much-awaited meeting between Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday failed to break the impasse over critical details of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial in the chamber.

With only hours left for the Senate to wind up for 2019, it seems a deal will have to wait until after the holidays. The meeting between the two lasted just 20 minutes, Politico reported. It is also not clear whether they decided on a start date for the trial. McConnell had said earlier the trial date is expected to be announced by Friday.

“Senator Schumer made clear to Sen. McConnell that the witnesses and documents are necessary to ensure a fair trial in the Senate," Justin Goodman, a spokesman for Schumer said in a statement. "Sen. Schumer asked Sen. McConnell to consider Sen. Schumer’s proposal over the holidays."

The two leaders are known to share a toxic relationship, which had so far prevented them from exchanging ideas on the conduct of the trial. Thursday's meeting, the first between the two on the impeachment trials, was therefore, a keenly watched one.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters on Wednesday soon after the House's historic vote to impeach President Donald Trump, indicated that she is in no hurry to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, over concerns of an unfair trial. Schumer also met with Pelosi on Thursday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell condemned the House impeachment case against President Donald Trump as "slapdash"
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell condemned the House impeachment case against President Donald Trump as "slapdash" GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / MARK WILSON

House Democrats have already left for the year, so the transmission of the articles to the Senate will have to wait until Jan. 7 when they return.

Schumer had earlier sent a formal letter to McConnell, asking for four key witnesses in the trial, including former national security adviser John Bolton and acting White House Chief of Staff Mike Mulvaney.

McConnell has indicated he does not want any witnesses. He is also opposed to another key demand from Schumer, a single resolution that governs both process and specific witnesses. McConnell wants to pass two separate resolutions on the process and potential witnesses, like during the trial of Bill Clinton in 1999.

Pelosi had said the decision on transmitting the articles will be made after the process on the Senate side is clear.