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White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley and Trump's personal lawyer Jay Sekulow return from a dinner recess Thursday night at the Senate impeachment trial. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump's team is considering using just a portion of the 24 hours they're given for arguments in his impeachment trial.

Why it matters: A truncated defense would likely reflect a decision not to contest facts or defend Trump point by point, but rather to try to diminish the legitimacy of Democrats' overall case and end the trial as quickly as possible.

  • But if the White House moves too abruptly, it risks angering the small group of Republican senators Democrats have been courting to cross party lines to allow new witnesses and evidence in the trial.

What we're hearing: Just because Trump's team can use up to three days to present their case doesn’t mean they will. Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow himself appeared to tease the idea it could wrap as early as Saturday — though other White House and Senate GOP aides later downplayed the notion they would cut back to just one day.

  • "We’re not going to try to run the clock out," Sekulow told reporters Thursday, adding that whether the defense concludes “Saturday or Monday or Tuesday,” he is confident “the case will be made defending the president."
  • Meanwhile, two sources familiar with the Trump team's plans told Axios they don't anticipate using all 24 hours.
  • Instead, the team plans to adjust their arguments to what some of the more vulnerable Senate Republicans need to get them over the acquittal line.
  • "They'll use their time to get their facts out there, however long that may be," one of the sources said, adding that Trump's team recognizes that some Republicans are eager to hear a full-throated defense of Trump that wipes away any doubts about his culpability.
  • Another aide added that even if Trump's lawyers only use half of the time they're allotted, they'll likely split it up over at least two days — in part because of TV ratings. "No one wants to watch this on their Saturday."

But one thing they all agree on is they don't need to fill the hours just for the sake of it, with the sources noting that both House prosecutors and former President Bill Clinton's defense team each used fewer than 12 hours during the 1999 trial.

The bottom line: When your strategy is "concede nothing, admit nothing, apologize for nothing," it doesn't have to take very long.

Go deeper

UNC race conscious admissions process upheld by judge

Students walk through the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Aug. 18, 2020 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill can continue its race conscious admissions process, a federal judge ruled on Monday.

Why it matters: The case could end up in the Supreme Court after the conservative nonprofit Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) vowed to appeal the judge's ruling that UNC didn't discriminate against against white and Asian American applicants in its policy that it said was designed to increase diversity.

SEC debunks conspiracy theories about meme stock mania

Photo: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The SEC issued its long-awaited report on the meme stock mania, which downplayed the narrative that a "short squeeze" was the primary driver behind GameStop's historic stock moves — and shot down conspiracy theories about the event.

Why it matters: The postmortem was highly anticipated, largely because of what it could hint about what the regulator thinks should be done in wake of the saga. But the report stopped short of specific policy recommendations.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Breaking Biden's diplomatic logjam

Expand chart
Data: Center for Presidential Transition via Congress.gov; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The logjam for reviewing and confirming President Biden's ambassadorial picks is finally starting to break.

Why it matters: Biden is far behind his predecessors in the rate at which his ambassadorial picks have been confirmed. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a series of high-profile hearings and votes this week to finally begin chipping away at the backlog.