The Senate impeachment trial wrapped up for the day as President Trump’s legal team concluded the first day of their opening arguments for why the president should be acquitted.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shook hands with members of Trump’s legal defense team before heading out of the chamber Saturday as other Republicans also were seen talking with the lawyers after the trial initially got underway about 10 a.m., following final arguments by Democratic House managers which wrapped up late Friday.
Responses came quickly from both sides by way of lengthy press conferences and tweets. Here are just a few examples:
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) January 25, 2020
After listening to the President’s lawyers opening arguments, I have three observations:
They don’t contest the facts of Trump’s scheme.
They’re trying to deflect, distract from, and distort the truth.
And they are continuing to cover it up by blocking documents and witnesses.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) January 25, 2020
It appears the #TrumpDefense is exactly what we expected. A giant nothing burger heavy on the conspiracy sauce.
— Rick Smith (@RickSmithShow) January 25, 2020
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) January 25, 2020
Impressive opening arguments made by the President's defense team this morning.
In just two hours the White House counsel shredded the case that took 24 hours for house managers to present.
I look forward to the President being exonerated! #TrumpDefense
— Rep. Lloyd Smucker (@RepSmucker) January 25, 2020
Before McConnell even began the session, which he estimated would last about three hours, Trump was already fired up.
The president tweeted an attack on Democrats which included a number of nicknames aimed at impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff, Senate minority leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi, and even Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
He also poked at the whole “Democrat Party” as well as “Fake News” CNN and “MSDNC” (MSNBC).
Our case against lyin’, cheatin’, liddle’ Adam “Shifty” Schiff, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer, Nervous Nancy Pelosi, their leader, dumb as a rock AOC, & the entire Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrat Party, starts today at 10:00 A.M. on @FoxNews, @OANN or Fake News @CNN or Fake News MSDNC!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2020
Trump lawyer Pat Cipollone began this morning saying he did not “anticipate using that much time” since Democrats had not “come anywhere close to meeting their burden for what they’re asking you to do.”
“They’re asking you not only to overturn the results of the last election but as I’ve said before, they’re asking you to remove President Trump from the ballot in an election that’s occurring in approximately nine months,” he told senators.
“They’re asking you to tear up all of the ballots across this country on your own initiative, take that decision away from the American people, and I don’t think they spent one minute of their 24 hours talking to you about the consequences of that for our country,” Cipollone added.
Democrats are asking you—not only to overturn the results of the last election, but—to remove @realdonaldtrump from the ballot in an election that occurs in 9 months.
To take that decision away from the American people.
To do something that no Senate has ever done. pic.twitter.com/ddUG6h0DHo
— Senate Republicans (@SenateGOP) January 25, 2020
He confronted democrats on their impeachment efforts and their own apparent lack of confidence in their case against Trump.
Trump’s Deputy Counsel Mike Purpura then argued that he was being forced to defend the president on a record “based entirely on House Democratic facts pre-cleared in a basement bunker. Not mostly — entirely.”
“Yet even those facts exonerate the president,” he told lawmakers.
Purpura spoke of the Trump’s July phone call with the Ukrainian president and that burden-sharing and corruption were discussed, as the White House tweeted the slides he was using.
There are 6 key facts that have not, and will not, change. pic.twitter.com/RxdEnJOU21
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 25, 2020
Objections raised during the call by staff like Lt. Col. Vindman did not matter, Purpura said.
“The president sets the foreign policy. In a democracy such as ours the elected leaders make foreign policy while unelected staff such as Lt. Col. Vindman implement the policy,” he said.
Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow told senators “you cannot simply decide this case in a vacuum.”
He mocked Democrats for their lengthy arguments while calling them out for their silence when the administration placed holds on aid to other countries, including Afghanistan, Lebanon, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
Jay Sekulow: President Trump Has Placed Holds On Aid A Number Of Times
So true, just watch! pic.twitter.com/oryMJmWqOP
— Team Trump (Text FIRST to 88022) (@TeamTrump) January 25, 2020
Deputy Counsel Patrick Philbin spoke about the unprecedented impeachment inquiry which was launched without a full House vote.
“Speaker Pelosi did not have the authority to delegate the power of the House to those committees on her own,” he said, going on to target Rep. Adam Schiff as an “interested fact witness” because of his connection to the initial whistleblower.
Over their 3 days, House Democrats cherry-picked evidence, cut testimony out of context, and even flat-out lied.
The President’s lawyers are now showing Americans what the Democrats wouldn’t.
These facts aren’t just inconvenient for Democrats—they are fatal to their case.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 25, 2020
In a visual difference from the first days of the trial which saw hours of speeches by Democrats, prompting lawmakers to walk around, chat, and even take on crossword puzzles to stay awake, the chamber on Saturday was full, according to NBC News which reported that “nearly every Democratic senator was taking notes throughout.”
Trump’s legal team is on the floor methodically shredding the impeachment case. Turns out, things aren’t so slam dunk for House Democrats when the President gets a chance to respond.
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) January 25, 2020
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