Friday, January 24, 2020

Senate Trial Highlights for January 23, 2020

Sekulow: Dems ‘opened the door’ for trial to be about Biden
Jay Sekulow, one of the president’s attorneys arguing on his behalf during the impeachment trial, said house managers’ focus on Joe Biden throughout their hours of presentations on Thursday “opened the door” for them to concentrate on the former vice president in their rebuttal.
“For the last five hours, it's been a lot about Joe Biden and Burisma,” Sekulow said, mentioning the Ukrainian gas company where Biden’s son served on the board. “They kind of opened the door for that response so we'll determine as a defense team the appropriate way to do it.”
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, agreed, arguing that the house managers’ decision to focus on Biden and Burisma had several consequences, including making Hunter Biden, the vice president’s son, “not only relevant. He is now critical.”
He added that when the president’s counsel presents, “they are going to have the opportunity to present the very significant evidence that supported and still supports a serious investigation into corruption at Burisma, and ultimately whether Joe Biden participated in that corruption.”
So far, many Republicans have fended off calls for Hunter Biden to testify in the trial, explaining it would create a spectacle. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he was fending off pressure to call the Bidens in to testify.
“They asked for him in the House and they said 'no,'" Graham said of Hunter Biden, "but I don't want to litigate that. I don't think it's necessary to dispose of this issue. I like Joe Biden, this man has been through a lot of tragic events in this life, and I have no desire to turn this Senate trial into a circus."
The Republican from South Carolina added, though, he couldn't just go back to his voters and ignore questions about Biden's conduct in Ukraine.
"I can't go home and say that we should just ignore what happened in Ukraine because I like Joe Biden," he said.
Other Republicans cautioned the president’s team from veering into the theories that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election, something that the president has echoed.
"Unless they know something I don't know or haven't seen, I think the intelligence community has very conclusively determined that it was Russia, and not Ukraine who interfered in the 2016 election, so that's not a direction I would have gone in,” said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.
Graham tells Trump not to come to the trial:
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a close ally of President Donald Trump, told reporters he did not want Trump to come to the Senate trial.
“He hasn’t told me whether or not he wants to come, but in case you’re listening, don’t come,” Graham said, making a reference to remarks by Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff recounting Trump telling Russia “if you’re listening” to find Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Trump said in Davos he would "love" to attend the trial, though his attorney Jay Sekulow said yesterday that "Presidents don't do that."
Graham spoke to the president last night, he said, and Trump was “bored” by the trial.
“He is on the receiving end of this. If you’ve ever been in one of these situations where you’ve been accused, and it’s very emotional,” Graham said, adding that Trump was having the “reaction a normal person would have if they were accused of something.”
Collins sent a note to Roberts before admonishment
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she was "stunned" by remarks given by House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler at the start of the trial, where he accused senators of being complicit in a cover-up if they shot down measures to hear from additional witnesses.
Collins, a key moderate who Democrats are hoping to convince that more witnesses should be heard from during the trial, said the remarks caused her to write a note to Chief Justice John Roberts, asking whether the Senate's rules had been violated.
"I was stunned by Congressman Nadler’s approach, and it reminded me that if we were in a normal debate in the Senate, that the rule will be invoked to strike the words of the Senator, for impugning another Senator in this case," she explained in an interview with Politico, remarks that were confirmed by her office. "So, I did write a note raising the issue of whether there had been a violation of the rules of the Senate."
Collins said she gave the note to Laura Dove, the secretary for the Senate majority. Shortly after the note was delivered, Roberts admonished both house managers and Trump's counsel for the testy back-and-forth. "I was glad that he did," Collins said.
Read the rest of the highlights HERE and follow link to another source:

POLITICO: Lindsey Graham’s vanishing act, the impeachment timeline and other news from today’s trial

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