Update (0130ET): The word of the day is “Shredded” – as in, several Republicans have described the White House counsel’s presentation as having shredded House Democrats’ impeachment arguments.
“In two hours, the White House counsel entirely shredded the case by the House managers,” said Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) in a statement to reporters. “What we saw today was factually relevant … and (we) saw there were a lot of half-truths from the House managers and, frankly, pushed by the media.”
Rep. Elise Stafanik (R-NY) offered similar comments – saying “It took less than two hours to completely shred and eviscerate Adam Schiff’s failed case for impeachment,” adding “There is no case for impeachable offenses here. And it took less than two hours to do so. I think the American people understand that.”
While Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) said “3 days of Democrat arguments were just shredded 2 hours.”
Rep. Adam Schiff, meanwhile, says the White House counsel is trying to “deflect” away from Democrats’ claims that President Trump abused his office, according to The Hill.
“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,” Schiff tweeted on Saturday.
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
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Update (1130ET): Trump’s lawyers began their opening arguments Saturday by slamming Democrats for having “no evidence” to support their argument that Trump’s conduct with Ukraine warrants impeachment and removal.
“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,” said White House counsel Pat Cipolline, adding “I don’t think they spent one minute of their 24 hours talking to you about the consequences of that for our country.”
Cipollone began on Saturday by reading directly from the transcript of the July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky – claiming Democrats misrepresented it. In particular, the White House counsel played a clip of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) reading a ‘parody’ of the call.
The use of the clip is likely to satisfy Trump. The president spent the days after Schiff made the comments calling for the congressman’s resignation and suggesting he committed treason. Even months after the September hearing, Trump continues to bring up Schiff’s comments in interviews when railing against the impeachment proceedings.
Trump in his call with Zelensky asked the foreign leader to investigate a debunked theory about 2016 election interference and to probe Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s dealings in Ukraine. The call triggered a rare intelligence community whistleblower complaint claiming that Trump solicited foreign interference in a U.S. election, with the complaint being a key piece of evidence in the Democrats’ impeachment case. –The Hill
Following Saturday arguments, Trump’s lawyers will pick up again on Monday.
After three days of “why”, here comes the “why not”…
Beginning at 10am ET, White House lawyers began their defense of the President on Day 5 of the Senate Impeachment Trial.
The Trump lawyers are expected to speak for upwards of three hours after Democrats wrapped up their opening arguments on Friday night.
A member of the legal team, Jay Sekulow, referred to Saturday’s session as “a trailer” of “coming attractions” for next week’s sessions.