New York Times columnist David Brooks can’t believe who has joined President Donald Trump’s impeachment legal defense team and thinks their careers will be negatively impacted.
Brooks warned that Rep. Adam Schiff will “just walk all over” the prominent legal experts announced who will be part of laying out Trump’s defense in the Senate impeachment trial. The newest additions according to reports on Friday include Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz and former independent counsel in the Whitewater investigation, Ken Starr.
(Video: PBS via Media Research Center)
Speaking Friday on “PBS NewsHour,” Brooks revealed he already considered Trump guilty at the outset of the controversy brought about by his phone call with the Ukraine president last year.
“I have learned to never underestimate the ability of Trump to self-sabotage. So, I assume that he did more, and there’s probably more — even within hours, there might be more,” he told host Judy Woodruff. “And so that will continue to come out. In my view, frankly, when we saw the phone call transcript of day one on this whole deal, to me, he was 99 percent guilty at that moment. And now he’s risen to 99.9 percent guilty.”
He expressed his surprise over the people willing to join Trump’s team.
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“I’m, frankly, struck by the number of people who have joined his defense team, Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr. I wouldn’t do this,” he declared.
“I mean, there’s not — like, whatever you think of Trump or not, there’s like not a lot of good arguments on your side. Like, why would you want to go to a movie where you got nothing but bad lines?” Brooks mused.
“And so I think they’re all going to hurt them. I mean, I think they will get through this. But I wouldn’t say it’s a career enhancer for anybody. I don’t know why they’re all signing up for this,” he added.
“You mean because you think they will say things that will hurt the case?” Woodruff asked.
“Schiff will just — he will just walk all over them because he has the evidence on his side. So, it’s not a debate you want to have when you’re on a losing side. And this is basically a political game to get through it,” Brooks replied.
Not surprisingly, liberal analyst Mark Shields agreed with him.
“I mean, the old cliché about sports coaching, there’s no ‘I’ in ‘team?’ This defense team has got a lot of I’s in it, I mean, starting with Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr, recently deposed president of Baylor University for an athletic scandal and other shortcomings, former federal judge,” he said.
“Pat Cipollone has the toughest job in the world managing it. I just don’t see it as a cohesive unit. And I think the Democrats are really in a lot stronger position with Adam Schiff and his team. I think they’re far more cohesive, for one thing,” Shields added.
Earlier in the segment, Brooks had agreed that Trump should be removed from office, while he admitted Americans are beginning to see impeachment as “old news.”
“If you look at the polling over the last month, the number of people who think Trump should be removed has gone down slightly, the number of people who think he shouldn’t be removed has gone up by 5 or 6 percentage points,” he acknowledged.
“And so, if you’re looking for it political pressure on Republican senators, you certainly don’t see it so far out there, and, if anything, I think the psychology of the moment is that that stuff is a little old news, we have got this exciting election campaign. I think there’s more interest in that than impeachment,” he added.
Brooks and Shields agreed on the debatable success of the tactics by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to delay transmitting the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
‘The political graveyard of dead ambitions is littered with the corpses of those who underestimated the speaker,” Shields declared. “I think it’s fair to say that the case has been strengthened against the president, and the call certainly for evidence has been strengthened in the intervening four weeks.”
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