Trump Lawyers Offer Surprisingly Un-Trumpy Defense to Impeachment

Just before his lawyers stepped into the U.S. Senate to begin their argument that he should not be removed from office, President Donald Trump offered a preview of sorts.

Americans should turn on their televisions, he wrote on Twitter, and watch the attorneys make “our case against” his political antagonists, who he listed with a series of taunting nicknames.

What those who tuned in saw was something quite different.

When Trump’s legal team launched his defense at his impeachment trial on Saturday, they outlined a case far removed from his all-caps claims of a perfect phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart and denunciations of his political foes.

Instead they focused largely on what they cast as glaring holes in Democrats’ argument that Trump should be removed from office for his efforts to secure politically beneficial investigations from Ukraine’s government, and argued that the allegations against Trump did not justify ousting him in an election year.

“We don’t believe they have come anywhere close to meeting their burden for what they’re asking you to do,” White House counsel Pat Cipollone, the head of Trump’s defense attorneys, told lawmakers on Saturday.

The defense his team outlined was more subdued and sober than what Trump’s lawyers, his political allies and certainly he himself has presented in the past. Whether that will continue when the trial resumes on Monday is anyone’s guess, but their tone and engagement with the merits of the case that the Democrats have tried to build did not go unnoticed by some of the lawmakers who will decide whether Trump remains in office.

Democratic Senator Tom Carper of Delaware told reporters he “came expecting that the Republicans would come out all guns blazing and fire and brimstone, and I think they got a message from some of their Republican brethren that that would not be helpful.”

He said he thought the presentation was aimed at a handful of moderate Republican senators who could break with their party and vote to let Democrats summon some of Trump’s closest aides to testify for the first time about the president’s conduct.

‘LOW-KEY, SPECIFIC’ AND ‘SOLEMN’

Trump has at times issued a much higher-decibel defense, declaring on Twitter that he “GOT IMPEACHED FOR MAKING A PERFECT PHONE CALL” and urging people to “READ THE TRANSCRIPTS.”

Trump’s lawyers still struck some of his favorite notes, accusing Democrats pressing for his removal of trying to “cancel an election,” casting him as the victim of a succession of politically motivated investigations brought only to tarnish his presidency, and seeking to discredit Representative Adam Schiff, the lawmaker leading the impeachment effort. Cipollone said on Saturday that Democrats were “here to perpetrate the most massive interference in an election in American history.”

Senator Lamar Alexander, a Republican, said Trump’s lawyers “were low-key, specific and I thought they were persuasive.” Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito said “it was pretty solemn, too, which I appreciated.”

The Democratic-led House of Representatives impeached Trump in December on two charges, abuse of power for pressuring Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading contender to challenge Trump this year, and obstruction of Congress for his efforts to impede the House investigation. The charges center on claims by administration officials that Trump pressed for the investigations using nearly $400 million in security aid and a coveted White House visit as leverage.

The Democratic lawmakers serving as prosecutors in the trial spent three days last week mapping the case against Trump, drawing on documents and testimony from administration officials about Trump’s efforts to secure investigations into the Bidens and a discredited conspiracy theory about the 2016 election.

Trump’s lawyers sought to chip away at that evidence on Saturday, pointing out that most of the witnesses who testified that Trump tried to trade government acts for political benefits never interacted with him directly. They also highlighted statements from Ukrainian officials who said they did not feel under any pressure.

And they sought to poke holes in some of the more powerful evidence against Trump, including testimony from the ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, who said he supposed that a holdup in security aid was connected to Trump’s desire for investigations. Sondland also testified that he never saw the president draw that link directly. “The ambassador’s mistaken belief does not become proof because he repeated it many times,” Trump lawyer Mike Purpura said.

Ultimately, the presentations by Trump’s lawyers and the Democratic prosecutors might not matter much given the numbers in the Senate: Trump’s fellow Republicans hold a 53-47 majority and Democrats would need at least 67 votes to convict him.

(Reporting by Brad Heath, Richard Cowan, Makini Brice and David Morgan; Editing by Mary Milliken and Daniel Wallis)

Responses

  1. Sorry confuction but you are the one here with wrong rhetoric. Most people don’t even bother to answer you and correct your lies and deceit because you are boring. Since I am an ex-member of your party, I cannot let your actions or rhetoric go without correcting it. You and your party are a totalitarian organization and I will keep on putting out corrections to your lies.

  2. Beware, the left will continue to spew their lies and deceit regardless of the truths that the President’s team brought forward. After all, the left would NOT have a party if they did not have their lies, hate, deceit, violence and criminals.

    1. You only got two likes one this one, The Real Bob. It looks as if you are wearing everybody down with your tired, wrong rhetoric.

  3. I – for one – was glad to hear some FACTS for the first time during this circus side show run by a bunch of clowns. As stated and inferred by fellow IJR members, the Trump defense team blew the Schifff-Sham-show out of the water and sunk their leaking battleship!

  4. There were not “holes” in the House Democrat prosecution presentation but lies…They cherry picked statements in witness testimony and in transcripts omitting other portions of that same testimony or document which destroyed their circumstantial case argument. If it were not for the rules of impeachment they would be guilty of lying to congress. You can still see the two hour Saturday defense presentation on YouTube.

  5. “What kind of title is this Trump’s lawyers present his case in an “untrumpy” manner?” William Conley

    Yeah, the glaring typo stood out to me, too.

    1. Come on, guys. You can do better than that.

      I post something that favors Dear Leader and you still can’t figure that out? Sadly, it’s a laugh a minute around here.

  6. President Trump’s instructions to his legal team was, “Just tell the truth.”

    1. Derned facts are getting in the way of the 2020 election for the Donkey Party. Losing smarts.

  7. This op-ed did it’s best to down play the fact that the Republican attorneys blew the Democrat case for impeachment out of the water and exposed it for the sham that it is.

  8. I believe it was the first time that anyone watching actually heard real facts and truth coming from the Defense team! Even the liberal press, who never cared to learn the truth in Schiff’s accusations for the past 3 years were shocked at the facts that came out, exposing Schiff’s lies and manufactured stories!
    Every senator who had the chance to experience this, would clearly vote for an acquittal and exoneration of our president! The left loonies will probably vote with their deranged chairman, Nadler and impeachment manager, Schiff anyway!

    1. Now that was funny!

      I am certain that the defense changed EVERYONE’S minds, too, Michelle. Yeah, right.

  9. It must be devastating to Reuters and the rest of the left/DNCMedia that Trump’s attorneys present facts & truth vs the suppositions, thoughts, assumptions and mind reading the Dems presented.

    1. Both thumbs UP, Sherri!! FACTS do matter; but won’t change the minds of the dimwits on the Left.

  10. Democrats hate to lose grip on power and money and Trump has been busting their chops since day one so WTF did you expect the low-life’s to do ?

  11. President Trump’s attorneys made the Democrats look like the punks they are. No facts, no class and no wins.
    Not a fan of the “perfect call” rhetoric but it’s done.

  12. What kind of title is this Trump’s lawyers present his case in an “untrumpy” manner?

  13. Just think of the money spent trying to make something stick to Trump. Its been one steady attack since before the election. An old communist is the best person Democrats can come up with for the next election?

    1. Don’t be surprised if either one of the two skanks out there, Michelle Obama or Hillary manage to step in at the last moment….

  14. And this is why you hire lawyers – to be orderly, dispassionate and to examine the facts in a cold light with solid analysis.

  15. The president is a multi billionaire, why would anyone be surprised that he has amazing attorneys? The attorneys are only going to argue the facts. They will only argue what he is accused of. They will not stray off topic because that could open the door to new discoveries and new accusations allowing democrats an argument to call new witnesses. They are not stupid.

  16. These democrap assceholes produced articles of impeachment strictly along party lines [no Republican voted yes]; then because they think Trumpsters are stupid are demanding a fair bipartisan exoneration;;;;;;;breath taking hypocritical idiots.

    1. I agree. I listened to the constant haranguing by Scihff, Nadler, and other Dems, the President’s lawyers were stately, and well studied. Their arguments were based in law, not opinion, supposition, rumour, and innuendo. Our law requires actual, first hand evidence of a crime, not someone’s opinion of someone else’s opinion, of what they heard from someone else.. And after weeks of the House hearings, that is all the actual “evidence that they have.

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