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The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate is so far cleaving neatly along party lines in advance of Wednesday’s virtually certain votes to acquit President Donald Trump on two impeachment charges, with just two or three undecided members even considering breaking with their party.
The chamber’s top Republican, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, again slammed the impeachment drive of House Democrats as “the most rushed, least fair and least thorough” in history and confirmed that he will vote to acquit Trump.
McConnell said the two charges against Trump — that he abused his power and obstructed Congress’ ensuing investigation — are “constitutionally incoherent” and don’t “even approach a case for the first presidential removal in American history.”
Trump attorney accuses Dems of trying to interfere in 2020
White House counsel Pat Cipollone emphasized the gravity of the Senate impeachment trial proceedings and accused Democrats of trying to undo the 2016 presidential election – and interfere with the 2020 contest.
“They’re asking you to do something very, very consequential and … very, very dangerous,” Cipollone said. “They’re asking you not only to overturn the results of the last election but … asking you to remove President Trump from the ballot in an election that’s occurring in approximately nine months. They’re asking you to tear up all of the ballots across this country” and “take that decision away from the American people.”
Mike Purpura, deputy counsel to President Donald Trump, began by trying to undermine the credibility of Rep. Adam Schiff, the California Democrat and House Intelligence Committee chairman who led the impeachment inquiry.
He played a clip of Schiff reading the supposed transcript of Trump’s now infamous July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky. In the clip, Schiff appears to exaggerate the substance of the call – in what he later said was a “parody” – and suggested Trump had directly asked his Ukrainian counterpart for “dirt” on a political opponent.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, one of eight House lawmakers who are part of Trump’s defense team, told reporters Friday that the team is “very confident” because all of the facts are on the president’s side.
“I think this case is open and shut for the president,” Jordan said.
Continue reading on USA TODAY
(Bloomberg) — The Senate will begin hearing the House impeachment managers’ case against President Donald Trump this week on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
In a trial set to begin Tuesday at 1 p.m.
The cable news networks, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, are likely to show significant portions of the trial. C-SPAN 2, which covers Senate floor proceedings, will broadcast it on cable and online.
Most of the major news outlets will be live streaming on YouTube.
More from Bloomberg:
Starting Tuesday, the trial is expected to run every day but Sunday, beginning at 1 p.m., under Senate rules adopted in 1986.
McConnell will offer a resolution supplementing the rules to track the procedures used in President Bill Clinton’s 1999 trial by setting time limits for each side’s opening arguments followed by questions from senators.
After that, senators would decide whether to call witnesses and seek additional documents.
The trial then would move forward. The impeachment managers would go first, likely taking two to three days to make their case. Trump’s defense team would have a similar amount of time.
Senators would then ask questions in writing to Chief Justice John Roberts, who would read them to the legal teams.
Either the legal teams or senators may call on Roberts to make procedural decisions. In Clinton’s trial, a senator objected to the lawmakers being referred to as jurors, and Chief Justice William Rehnquist agreed.
Roberts can also choose to put procedural issues up for a vote, and any decision he makes can be overruled by a majority vote of the senators.
Trump has tweeted that the senators should not seek testimony from witnesses or subpoena additional documents, arguing that “all of this work was supposed to be done by the House,” a line echoed by Republican leadership. But four Republicans — Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee — have said they’re open to joining with Democrats to call witnesses.
Trump’s Defense Team
Trump’s lawyers will make opening and closing statements and rebut the House impeachment managers:
Pat Cipollone: A former partner at a white-shoe law firm and commercial litigator whose clients included Trump’s business, Cipollone became White House counsel in 2018.
Jay Sekulow: Chief counsel to the conservative American Center for Law and Justice and a talk radio host, Sekulow is part of Trump’s personal legal team.
Kenneth Starr: The former independent counsel’s investigation of Clinton led to his impeachment for lying under oath about his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
Alan Dershowitz: A member of O.J. Simpson’s “dream team” of lawyers, the former Harvard law professor wrote “The Case Against Impeaching Trump” in 2018.
The team also includes Robert Ray, a former Whitewater prosecutor; former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi; a Florida lawyer for Trump, Jane Raskin; and two Cipollone deputies, Michael Purpura and Patrick Philbin.