Jan 28, 2020

Trump impeachment trial recap, day 7: Trump's team closes its case

Members of Trump's legal team leave the Capitol on Monday. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Trump's legal team closed out its opening arguments during the seventh day of his Senate impeachment trial on Tuesday.

The big picture: Republicans spent their three days of arguments lamenting the facts that form the basis of the trial — claiming they don't rise to the level of an impeachable offense — and accusing Democrats of pushing forward a plot to subvert the will of American voters and remove the president from office.

  • Despite presenting their opening arguments over three days, Trump's team didn't use even half of its available 24 hours.

The highlights:

  • Deputy White House counsel Pat Philbin argued that Democrats had ascribed nefarious motives to actions "perfectly within [Trump's] authority" when drafting the articles of impeachment. "How are we supposed to get the proof of what’s in the president’s head?” he asked.
  • Trump's lawyer Jay Sekulow brushed aside the leak from former national security adviser John Bolton's book draft, calling it "an unpublished manuscript that maybe some reporters have an idea of maybe what it says ... I don't know what you'd call that. I'd call it inadmissible, but that's what it is."
  • White House counsel Pat Cipollone closed out the arguments in a mellow tone, asking for senators to "respect and defend the sacred right of every American to vote and to choose their president" in 2020.

From the floor:

  • Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) was chided by staff for bringing a bottle of chocolate milk onto the Senate floor, which is against the chamber's rules. Per the Wall Street Journal, Romney returned to the floor with the chocolate milk poured into a glass.

The big picture: It's still unclear if the Bolton leak will upend Republicans' plans for a speedy end to the trial later this week.

  • On Monday, Trump's team largely shied away from the topic, and Trump attorney Alan Dershowitz, who spoke in the 8pm hour, was the only member of the team to namecheck Bolton.
  • "Nothing in the Bolton revelations, even if true, would rise to the level of an abuse of power or an impeachable offense," Dershowitz said.

What's next: Senators will now have 16 hours over the next two days to submit prewritten questions to Chief Justice John Roberts, who will direct them to the House impeachment managers or Trump's legal team.

What you need to know:

Go deeper:

Go deeper

The daily highlights from Trump's Senate impeachment trial

Photo: Getty Images

The Senate impeachment trial of President Trump is set to wrap up on Wednesday with a final on whether or not to remove him from office.

The big picture: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell got the speedy, no-witness trial he wanted. Republicans officially have the votes to acquit Trump, according to a Politico analysis of public statements.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 5, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump impeachment trial recap, day 6: Defense continues case despite Bolton furor

Alan Dershowitz. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

President Trump's legal team continued its opening arguments on the sixth day of his Senate impeachment trial on Monday.

The big picture: Trump's defense team hit hard on historical precedents, the Bidens, Burisma and the House impeachment managers. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ended the day grinning broadly during Alan Dershowitz's remarks that the articles are not crimes, receiving handshakes from several GOP senators after, in addition to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.)

Go deeperArrowJan 28, 2020

Trump's defense team shifts from complacency to urgency

White House counsel Pat Cipollone arrives for the Senate impeachment trial. Photo: Olivier Doulery/AFP via Getty Images

Just days ago, Republicans were optimistic President Trump’s defense team could cruise to an acquittal by the end of this week, but many believe his lawyers now face a steep climb to stop a vote to allow new witnesses and drag out the impeachment proceedings.

The bottom line: Allegations in excerpts of former national security advisor John Bolton's forthcoming book — leaked to the New York Times for a story published Sunday night — have shifted the dynamic of the impeachment trial and threaten to upend Republicans' plans.

Go deeperArrowJan 28, 2020