Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Ted Cruz emerges as ardent Trump backer during impeachment trial

Photo by: Jose Luis Magana
No Republican has been more active in defense of President Trump during the impeachment trial than Sen. Ted Cruz.
It’s a striking role for the Texan, who four years ago at this time thought he’d be the one sitting in the White House. Instead, he’s back in the Senate, newly re-elected to a six-year term, and deploying his considerable legal mind in the defense of his former nemesis.
His office has been running a war room and issuing fact-checks to poke at the Democrats’ case, while Mr. Cruz himself has been holding press conferences, making the rounds of television and radio, and recording a new hit podcast, “The Verdict,” where he delivers a withering critique of the impeachment.
His best could be yet to come. Senators this week get a chance to question the impeachment managers, and Mr. Cruz has been gearing up. His office says he’s been writing down thoughts during the floor sessions and, since electronics are banned, he’s been sending the notes by runner back to his office for compilation.
It will be must-see TV for politicos to watch a man who has practiced before the Supreme Court legally joust with Reps. Adam Schiff and Jerrold Nadler, Democrats’ impeachment maestros — even if he doesn’t get to ask the questions himself. That role will be played by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.
“No senator has a better understanding of the Constitution and the law in this area than Senator Cruz does,” says Ron Nehring, who worked for Mr. Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign and his 2018 Senate re-election bid.
It turns out a lot of people are eager to hear what he has to say.
His podcast, which launched a week ago as the impeachment trial began, now tops the charts as the most popular show on Apple’s iTunes. The Joe Rogan Experience, where host Joe Rogan just made news with his controversial endorsement of Sen. Bernard Sanders in the Democratic primary, is in second place.
Mr. Cruz makes a half-hour episode well worth the investment.
Saturday’s installment saw Mr. Cruz confirm reports that GOP senators were angered by Mr. Schiff claiming the White House promised retribution on any Republican who defied the president. Mr. Cruz said he heard some senators on the floor booing Mr. Schiff for the claim.
“That was an interesting moment. That stuck with people,” he said.
The senator also reported on speculation among Republicans that Democrats have turned on former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, who had been their leading presidential candidate, which he said is one reason the Houser impeachment team has “thrown Biden under the bus” by focusing so much on Ukrainian corruption.
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