On CNN after Trump defense wraps day 1: ‘The Republicans are winning here’


CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin had to admit that President Donald Trump is “winning” after his defense team presented their legal case at the Senate impeachment trial.

Toobin’s acknowledgment of the lawyers’ effective arguments came at the conclusion of Saturday’s trial proceedings which saw White House counsel Pat Cipollone, Deputy White House counsel Mike Purpura and Trump’s longtime personal attorney Jay Sekulow, among others, address lawmakers.

(Video: CNN)

“Again, I just think the Republicans are winning here. The president is winning here. And as long as they don’t completely fall on their faces, which they’re all competent lawyers, they’re not going to do that, I think that’s fine for them,” Toobin said after opening arguments that lasted under two hours Saturday.

“They did make one good point about [the transcript], I thought, which was the president did about burden-sharing in that phone call, and the House managers didn’t focus on that or even mention it. And fair is fair,” he added. “He has talked about it before, and that was, I thought, a very legitimate good point made by the defense.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shook hands with members of the president’s defense team before heading out of the chamber at the conclusion of the relatively short proceedings.

“There was information put forth today that would allow Republicans to vote against witnesses and to vote for an acquittal,” Toobin admitted, saying there were probably not any “wavering Republicans” who could be counted on by Democrats to break ranks.

Toobin thought Purpura did a “good job” and was “persuasive” though he did go on to critique the weaker performances by Sekulow and Deputy Counsel to the president Patrick Philbin.

Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott was direct in his assessment that House impeachment manager Adam Schiff was “kneecapped” by Trump’s defense.

(Video: Fox News)

Asked about the possibility of witnesses being called when the trial resumes on Monday, Scott pointed to Democrats’ failure to call for all the testimony they said they needed before rushing to a vote to impeach last month.

“Why didn’t they go through this process?” he asked.

“Based on what I heard this morning, I think it’s pretty convincing that this was just a rush job to try to get this president,” he said, contending that it is a ply by Democrats to help former Vice President Joe Biden in the presidential race.

Trump weighed in following the end of Saturday’s proceedings, once again calling out the “hoax” against him.

Other lawmakers also reacted to the concise and effective way the defense team made the case for Trump.


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