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Michael van der Veen, one of the lawyers for former President Trump, walks to the Senate floor. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Donald Trump directed his own defense via speakerphone on Friday, repeatedly calling his lawyers in the Lyndon Baines Johnson Room on the Senate side of the Capitol to relay his feedback, sources tell Axios.

What we're hearing: In contrast to Tuesday's widely panned start of his defense, the Trump was said to be thrilled with his lawyers' performances on Friday — particularly by Michael van der Veen and David Schoen, both of whom "went full Trump," one person familiar with the situation told Axios.

Driving the news: The Senate reconvenes at 10 a.m. A final vote could come by 3 p.m., three Democratic congressional aides told Axios. Democrats are not expected to have the 17 Republican votes needed for a conviction.

Behind the scenes: Trump has been closely watching the trial from Mar-a-Lago with his former social media director Dan Scavino and other advisers.

  • The defense spent a total of 2 hours and 32 minutes of the 16 hours they were allotted to make their case, The Washington Post's Mike DeBonis tallied.
  • Trump's lawyers embraced his aggressive rhetoric and attacked Democrats for what they argued was a political hit job.
  • This came after a reorganization of the defense's presentation, including giving lawyer Bruce Castor Jr. a smaller speaking role, after Trump made clear he was displeased with the opening arguments.
  • During a break in the defense on Friday, Trump called and said he thought the team was doing "a great job" and told his lawyer to keep it up, a source familiar with the meeting told Axios.
  • The Senate wrapped up the trial's question-and-answer section Friday evening.

What's next: Neither side is expected to call witnesses. If that holds, they'll proceed to closing arguments.

  • The Democratic leadership told its caucus on Friday that a final vote could come around mid-afternoon, sources said.
  • Senators will vote on whether to convict or acquit the 45th U.S. president for "incitement of insurrection" for the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol by supporters of Trump seeking to block Joe Biden from becoming president.

Go deeper

Impeachment trial recap, day 4: Trump's team concludes speedy defense

Members of former President Donald Trumps defense team, David Schoen, center left, Michael van der Veen, center, and Bruce Castor, center right, arrive at the Capitol. Photo: Bill Clark/Getty Images

Donald Trump's legal team argued four key points during its defense of the former president on Friday — all focused on process.

The big picture: The lawyers delivered a swift defense in which they called the House charge that the former president incited the Jan. 6 insurrection a "preposterous and monstrous lie." In their presentation, the defense team asserted that the trial itself is unconstitutional; there was no due process; convicting Trump violates his First Amendment rights; and impeachment fails to unify the country.

Updated Feb 12, 2021 - Politics & Policy

The daily highlights from Trump's 2nd Senate impeachment trial

Trucks with LED screens displaying anti-Trump messages in front of the Capitol. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

President Trump was acquitted by the Senate on Feb. 13 in his second impeachment trial, in which he was faced a single charge from the House of Representatives for inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

The big picture: At five days, it was the fastest impeachment trial of a U.S. president and ended with the most bipartisan conviction vote in history. Still, the seven Republicans who joined all Democrats were not enough to reach the two-thirds majority necessary for conviction.

Updated Feb 12, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Inside Trump's impeachment defense

Trump defense attorneys Bruce Castor (left) and Michael van der Veen. Photo: Michael Reynolds/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Donald Trump's legal defense will focus entirely on process, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The attorneys representing the former president know it's fruitless to continue defending his actions preceding the Capitol attack. Instead, they'll say none of that matters because the trial itself is unconstitutional — an argument many Republican senators are ready to embrace.