Monday, January 27, 2020

President Trump's Team Plans Swift Impeachment Trial Defense

Photo: alex edelman/AFP/Getty Images
Monday’s session will precede key Senate votes on evidence amd witnesses
President Trump’s defense team plans to present the bulk of its argument in the Senate impeachment trial Monday, moving swiftly as representatives of both parties spar over whether more evidence should be introduced later this week.
After Democratic lawmakers took the maximum 24 hours over three days to make their case for the president’s removal, Mr. Trump’s lawyers began their defense Saturday. They argued over two hours that Democrats had failed to make a compelling case and were relying on circumstantial evidence to conclude that the Republican president had conditioned nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine on investigations that could benefit him politically.
The president’s team plans to present arguments Monday beginning at 1 p.m. EST and likely wrapping up by about 8 p.m., according to a person familiar with the discussions.
Constitutional law professor Alan Dershowitz and former independent counsel Kenneth Starr will likely speak Monday, the person said. Depending on how the session goes, the team may not use its session on Tuesday, the last day it has to make arguments before senators begin their questioning.
After a day of questions, the Senate will vote on whether to call more witnesses.
Democrats have accused the president of abusing his office in seeking the Ukraine investigations and of obstructing Congress during its impeachment probe. They argue that testimony by figures including acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton, which has been blocked by the White House, would provide firsthand accounts of the president’s actions and motivations.
The president’s team this week is expected to argue he was justified in pressing Ukraine on investigations.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), the lead House impeachment manager and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday on NBC that Republicans who oppose calling witnesses would be denying the public information that is relevant to the case.
“I think they’re deathly afraid of what witnesses will have to say, and so their whole strategy has been deprive the public of a fair trial,” Mr. Schiff said of Republicans. “If they’re successful in depriving the country of a fair trial, there is no exoneration.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), a top ally of the president on Capitol Hill, told Fox News he fervently opposes hearing more testimony.
“If we seek witnesses, then we are going to throw the country into chaos,” he said.
Sixty-six percent of Americans said the Senate should call witnesses to testify in Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial, including 45% of Republicans, 65% of independents and 87% of Democrats, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Friday.
Read the rest from the WSJ HERE and follow links below to related stories:

Impeachment End Game in Sight as GOP Senators Plan for Acquittal after Witness Vote

Trump's legal team previews impeachment defense

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