Chuck Schumer Hopeful House Managers' Presentation Will 'Change Minds' About Convicting Trump

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he hoped the presentation made by the House managers would change some Republicans' attitudes about Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

"Yesterday's presentations were extremely powerful," Schumer said at a press conference alongside Georgia Democratic Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. "Gut-wrenching when you saw what happened."

On Wednesday, the House managers presented never-before-seen video footage and audio communications from the January 6 Capitol attack. Security footage from inside the Capitol tracked the close calls of several lawmakers, including Vice President Mike Pence and Utah Senator Mitt Romney, as rioters swarmed the building.

The managers also showed a clip of then-Senate Minority Leader Schumer and his security detail turning around and running in the opposite direction, after encountering a mob of pro-Trump supporters. Representative Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), the impeachment manager who presented the footage, called it a "near-miss with the mob."

Schumer told reporters Thursday that he had never seen the video of himself before it was shown during the Senate trial.

"I'm hopeful it will change minds. It's hard to look at that and not see the gravity of what happened," Schumer said.

He later added: "To sweep this under the rug, to ignore it, in one of the most dastardly acts any president—probably the most dastardly act any president has committed—would not heal but keep the wounds open."

Democrats, who control the 50-50 chamber by the slimmest of advantages, will need 17 Republican members to join their cause in order to get a conviction. Before the trial got underway, several experts told Newsweek that the chances of a conviction were slim to none.

But some Republicans have already said they're not moved to change their vote after Wednesday's presentation. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) described the footage Wednesday as "horrific," but said it won't change his view on the impeachment. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) said there was "no question" the presentation is well done, but "that does not mean Trump was responsible."

The 10 Democratic impeachment managers will resume and are expected to wrap up their presentation on Thursday. Trump's legal defense, led by attorneys Bruce Castor Jr. and David Schoen, will start their presentation on Friday after a rocky start on Tuesday.

When asked Thursday morning if witnesses will be called in the trial, Schumer said it was up to the House managers on whether they want to summon anyone to provide testimony.

Schumer was also asked if Democrats would consider moving forward with the 14th Amendment—another potential avenue to disqualify Trump from holding future office—if the Senate does not vote to convict him.

"We're first going to finish the impeachment trial and Democrats will get together and decide where we go next," the Majority Leader replied.

Chuck Schumer presser 2/11/2021
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) arrives for a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on February 11, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Schumer spoke about the need to pass the COVID-19 relief package as part of the budget resolution and answered questions about the ongoing impeachment trial against Donald Trump. Drew Angerer/Getty