Trump’s Legal Team to Begin Defense Arguments at U.S. Senate Impeachment Trial

Lawyers for U.S. President Donald Trump will begin his defense at the Senate impeachment trial on Saturday, offering a rebuttal to Democratic charges that he abused his power and previewing more detailed arguments planned for next week.

In a shortened session, Trump’s lawyers will begin three days of arguments to counter Democratic assertions that he should be removed from office for pressuring Ukraine to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden, a 2020 Democratic presidential contender, and then trying to cover it up by impeding a congressional investigation. Trump has denied wrongdoing.

Given that the defense presentation will open on a Saturday, what the Republican president in a tweet called “Death Valley on TV,” the bulk of the arguments will be saved for early next week, Trump’s lawyers said.

The U.S. television audience for Democrats’ arguments declined on Thursday to roughly 7.8 million viewers during live daytime coverage, according to data from the Nielsen ratings agency – a 29% drop from Tuesday afternoon.

The Trump legal team said it would bring up Biden’s efforts to get Ukraine’s former top prosecutor dismissed on corruption concerns. Trump, without providing evidence, has charged that Biden acted to head off an investigation into a Ukrainian energy company on whose board his son Hunter Biden served.

Government witnesses told the impeachment inquiry last year that Biden was carrying out official U.S. policy.

“Why they opened up the door as wide as a double door on the Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, Burisma issue. I guess they figured that was their way of getting ahead of it. We will address it,” Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s defense attorneys, told reporters.

The Senate session will convene at 10 a.m. ET (1500 GMT) and run for several hours, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. The Trump legal team will have up to 24 hours over three days to make its case.

In an interview with Fox News, Trump said his defense team should “just tell the truth” and accused Democrats of “telling so many lies, so many fabrications, so much exaggeration. And this is not impeachable.”

The Democratic-led House of Representatives impeached Trump last month on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, setting the stage for the trial in the Republican-led Senate on whether to remove him from office before he seeks re-election in November.

It is the third Senate presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history.

The president is expected to be acquitted in the Senate, where a two-thirds vote is required to convict and remove a president from office. No Republican senator has voiced any support for his ouster.

In wrapping up the opening arguments, Representative Adam Schiff urged Republican senators to show “real political courage” and support a Democratic motion later in the trial for more witnesses.

He warned that Trump would abuse his power again unless he is removed from office.

“If it meets the standard of impeachable conduct, as we have proved, it doesn’t matter whether you like him. It doesn’t matter whether you dislike him,” said Schiff, who made the final presentation in the House prosecutors’ case.

“What matters is whether he is a danger to the country, because he will do it again. And none of us can have confidence, based on his record, that he will not do it again, because he is telling us every day that he will,” Schiff said.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan, Susan Cornwell, David Morgan, Doina Chiacu, Susan Heavey, Lisa Lambert, Makini Brice, Nandita Bose and Eric Beech in Washington and Karen Freifeld in New York; Writing by John Whitesides; Editing by Andy Sullivan and Grant McCool)

Responses

  1. We think about truth and honesty and ethics confuction. Those things are something you and your party have no knowledge about.

  2. Can these bums be impeached for abuse of taxpayers?

  3. It took thirteen left wing hacks (sorry, 13 objective , trained journalists) to produce this piece of shiff.

  4. Good ole syphilis and confuction are ignorant still. They have NO knowledge about anything and yet they want us to follow lockstep with them as they do in the demonrat/communist party. They are indeed “useful idiots” to their party. Today the truth will finally be presented instead of lies and deceit. Do you really want more witnesses when all it will prove is the communist party and it’s mouth piece (shiff face) lied and deceived the American people and the congress. I hope and pray that EVERY house and Senate member that is involved with this charade are tried for treason and put before a military firing squad. An acronym for democrat is WORTHLESS.

    1. No, I think that I can speak for both of us that we would like you to start thinking beyond Cult-45.

      You don’t need you to “follow lockstep” with us. That would be just weird.

  5. James, laid out the perfect case for WHY more witnesses and evidence is a total waste of time. The evidence will continue to come out and the Party of Trump will continue to claim they “Hear No Evil and See No Evil” with their eyes and ears firmly closed. They took an oath to not relinquish support even if he shot someone in the middle of 5th Avenue, and by darn they are going to stick to the oath—at least for another year.

  6. It is a sad situation in this country where, in court, lies are thrown out like candy. An example “Republicans threatened…”. Now surprisingly, Susan Collins, who is known, to vote a whole lot with Democrats, did vocally deny during trial, even when she was not suppose to open her mouth, that this had occurred. Folks just need to start stepping away from the verbiage and look at accomplishments, campaign promises kept. We have stepped away from that, if indeed we ever held our elected officials accountable, and we need to make it a priority in recalling elected officials, denying politicians another term of they can’t or won’t vote their campaign promises. We elect folks, most often, because we agree with what they say, the promises they make. However, the name of the game now seems to be as Pelosi was overheard to say on open mic …promise them what they want to hear then when you get elected, do what you want to do…. For to long, we have allowed this to happen. The Year 2020, needs to be the year voters stop politicians in their track.

    1. You do understand this is an impeachment hearing, not a political debate for re-election? It is an unusual defense to claim that the impeachment articles are not pertinent in an impeachment hearing. If you wish to debate Trump’s delivery of promises, I think it would be a better idea to wait until the GDP reaches “4, 5. ,maybe even 6%”, Mexico pays for the wall, America is as least as respected as before the 2016 election, and Draining the Swamp involves more than the departure of those appointed or endorsed by Trump.

  7. WHY? Schiff and his gaggle of morons proved NOTHING. Sen. McConnell should call for a voice vote on Saturday, declare the President has been acquitted and GET BACK TO WORK on matters which are of importance to the American people. This was no more than an illegal DNC campaign show to encourage their low-IQ base to vote in November against a Republican POTUS even though he has done more for America than any previous D’RAT. They know they have NO candidate who can beat Trump. End this mess!

    1. You still seem confused about what is going on here, Confused James.

      This impeachment trial is not about whatever good King Donald The Loser may have done, it is about what harm he has done.

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