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Schumer: Trump's team made case for new witnesses 'even stronger'

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerVeronica Escobar to give Spanish-language response to Trump State of the Union address MORE (D-N.Y.) knocked President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says his advice to impeachment defense team is 'just be honest' Trump expands tariffs on steel and aluminum imports CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group MORE's legal team on Saturday over its defense of Trump in the impeachment trial, saying its arguments made "no sense" and strengthened the Democratic case for witnesses.

Schumer, speaking after the first day of arguments from the White House counsel, noted that Trump's legal team argued there were no eyewitnesses for the Democrats' case, while Democrats want to call individuals with firsthand knowledge to testify.

"The president's counsel did something that they did not intend: They made a really compelling case for why the Senate should call witnesses and documents," Schumer told reporters.

The Senate is expected to hold a vote next week on whether additional witnesses or documents will be allowed in the Senate trial. Democrats will need four Republicans to vote with them to secure additional testimony and materials.

Schumer on Saturday stopped short of saying he thought they would be able to win over enough Republicans, describing it as a "hard road."

"Do I think it's easy to get four Republicans? Absolutely not. Do I think we have a chance ... and after today, maybe even a little more so?" Schumer asked. "Yes, I do."

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt Romney Lindsey Graham will oppose subpoena of Hunter Biden Senators push Pentagon on Syria strategy after withdrawal uproar, Soleimani strike MORE (Utah) is the only Republican who has specifically said he wants to call former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonSenate Republicans must stand up for the rule of law and ensure a fair, open proceeding Democrats cap impeachment arguments with focus on Trump stonewalling Lindsey Graham will oppose subpoena of Hunter Biden MORE and potentially others.

Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSchiff sparks blowback with head on a 'pike' line Democrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment Nadler calls Trump a 'dictator' on Senate floor MORE (R-Alaska) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSchiff sparks blowback with head on a 'pike' line Schiff closes Democrats' impeachment arguments with emotional appeal to remove Trump Democrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment MORE (R-Maine) have both signaled they are open to calling witnesses but have argued specific decisions should wait until after opening arguments and questions from senators. 

It's unclear who could give Democrats their fourth GOP vote. Republican leadership and their aides have predicted that a 50-50 vote would fail.

Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderThe Hill's Morning Report — Dems detail case to remove Trump for abuse of power Senate Republicans confident they'll win fight on witnesses Administration to give Senate briefing on coronavirus MORE (R-Tenn.), who is retiring but close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group Democrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment Impeachment throws curveball in Iowa to sidelined senators MORE (R-Ky.), has been tight-lipped about how he will vote on calling witnesses. 

The White House team on Saturday offered a brief two-hour preview of its defense against the two House-passed articles of impeachment. One of their arguments was that the witnesses who testified before the House did not have firsthand knowledge of the discussions around the decision to hold up the Ukraine aid.

Trump's attorneys argued that the president withheld the military aid because of concerns about burden sharing and corruption and that he didn't tie the assistance to the investigations.

A number of witnesses called by Democrats testified that it was their understanding the administration linked the aid to the investigations, including William Taylor, then the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, and Gordon SondlandGordon SondlandPompeo explodes at NPR reporter, asks if she could find Ukraine on a map Pompeo to meet with Zelensky in Ukraine amid impeachment trial Video becomes vital part of Democrats' case against Trump MORE, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union. 

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