23/09/2020

The American public and U.S. Senate got its first real introduction on…

The American public and U.S. Senate got its first real introduction on Tuesday to Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel who has been a key player on impeachment for President TrumpDonald John TrumpRouhani says Iran will never seek nuclear weaponsTrump downplays seriousness of injuries in Iran attack after US soldiers treated for concussionsTrump says Bloomberg is ‘wasting his money’ on 2020 campaignMORE.
The former corporate lawyer had not been a major public face for the president until Tuesday, when he offered a passionate defense of Trump that might have even surprised his boss with its made-for-a-television audience salvos.
Pat Cipollone is a high-quality human being. I was very impressed with Pat. He had great emotion yesterday, Trump told reporters at a news conference in Davos. Pat is a brilliant guy but Ive never seen that emotion and thats real emotion.
Cipollones performance was party of a fiery defense for Trump on the first real day of the impeachment trial that played on some of his own talking points and included fervent attacks on House Democrats. It was enough to capture Trumps attention while he was more than 4,000 miles away in Davos, Switzerland.  
Cipollone and Trumps personal attorney Jay SekulowJay Alan SekulowTrump says impeachment lawyers were ‘really good’Nadler, White House lawyers clash in late-night debateSenate blocks push to subpoena Bolton in impeachment trialMORE, who are leading the presidents impeachment team, set the stage for his opening arguments, which are expected to be delivered to the Senate beginning on Saturday.
Based on Tuesday, they will paint Trump as a victim of a partisan charade, while focusing less on challenging the specific evidence cited by Democrats. 
We will challenge aggressively the case that theyre putting forward based on what were hearing and we also have an affirmative case as well, Sekulow told CNN on Wednesday.
Its a defense designed for a TV audience and is likely to play well with the presidents base of supporters.
I think they were more television arguments rather than courtroom arguments, said Jack Sharman, who served as special counsel in the impeachment investigation of former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley.
Cipollone has been a huge part of the White House effort on impeachment, lending his name to a number of letters refusing to participate in the House investigation and instructing aides not to testify.
But he hasnt been in the public spotlight as much as Sekulow or Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiSenate rejects subpoenaing Mulvaney to testify in impeachment trialGOP rejects effort to compel documents on delayed Ukraine aidCitizens United put out a welcome mat for Lev Parnas and Igor FrumanMORE, a presidential attorney who is at the center of the impeachment controversy.
The president seemed to welcome Cipollones back-and-forth barbs with Judiciary Chair Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerMcConnell locks in schedule for start of impeachment trialPelosi: Trump’s impeachment ‘cannot be erased’House to vote Wednesday on sending articles of impeachment to SenateMORE (D-N.Y.), one of the impeachment managers.
But it led to an admonishment from Supreme Court Justice John Roberts, who scolded both Nadler and Cipollone after they traded fire on the issue of executive privilege in the late-night hours of Tuesdays proceedings.
The Judiciary chairman claimed Trump and Republicans were afraid to allow former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonThe Hill’s Morning Report – Trump trial begins with clashes, concessionsTrump says impeachment lawyers were ‘really good’Senate Republicans muscle through rules for Trump trialMORE testify and accused senators of engaging in a cover-up, angering Cipollone, who then demanded the lawmaker apologize to Trump and his family, the Senate and the American public.
Roberts urged both to remember that they are addressing the worlds greatest deliberative body.
Cipollone earlier in his remarks went on the attack against House Intelligence Committee Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffThe Hill’s Morning Report – Trump trial begins with clashes, concessionsSenate Republicans muscle through rules for Trump trialThe Memo: Day One shows conflicting narratives on impeachmentMORE (D-Calif.), a favorite target of Trumps, criticizing him for a parody of Trumps July 25 call with Ukraines president that Schiff read during an open hearing.
The White House counsel also chastised House Democrats for what he termed a partisan impeachment … delivered to your doorstep in an election year.
Theyre not here to steal one election, theyre here to steal two elections, Cipollone said. Its buried in the small print of their ridiculous articles of impeachment. They want to remove President Trump from the ballot.
Clips of his and others remarks were promoted by the White House and Republicans on Twitter, advancing the narrative that Democrats are out to get Trump ahead of 2020.
But the lawyers remarks prompted a fair share of criticism, underscoring the high degree of scrutiny of the presidents team surrounding the trial.
Trumps attorneys have mostly focused on challenging Democrats case on procedural and constitutional grounds. A legal brief filed by the lawyers on Monday dismissed much of the evidence collected by Democrats as hearsay and speculation and insisted Trump had legitimate reason to raise former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSanders joins Biden atop 2020 Democratic field: pollThe Hill’s Morning Report – Trump trial begins with clashes, concessionsTrump says impeachment lawyers were ‘really good’MORE and a debunked theory about 2016 election interference on the call with Ukraine at the center of the case. 
In addition to accusing Democrats of trying to use impeachment as a political tool a key facet of their arguments against impeachment thus far they have asserted that the articles accusing Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress fail because they do not allege criminal wrongdoing.
That interpretation of high crimes and misdemeanors referenced in the Constitution has been subject to plenty of legal debate in many days, with a number of legal experts disagreeing by saying that a crime is not required for impeachment.
The team is advancing the narrative maintained by President Trump that the call and handling of the aid was perfect, said Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University constitutional law professor and contributor to The Hill.
It has also constructed much of its case around the untenable interpretation that high crimes and misdemeanors must involve a crime. I believe that the history and precedent in both England and the United States clearly refute that argument, said Turley, who was called as a witness by Republicans during the House impeachment proceedings.
Harvard law professor emeritus Alan DershowitzAlan Morton DershowitzBarr wrote 2018 memo contradicting Trump’s claim that abuse of power is not impeachableBrent Budowsky: McConnell, Roberts and Trump on trial Trump lawyer argues Democrats have ‘absolutely no case’ in first impeachment trial remarksMORE, who has been a proponent of the argument, is expected to make that argument on the Senate floor when Trumps team presents its defense.
Trumps attorneys did give some ammunition to critics by at times playing loose with the facts.
Sekulow, for instance, misrepresented the findings of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a ‘failure’ Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearingLive coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delayMORE by asserting that his investigation found no obstruction mimicking a remark Trump has consistently made in the past.
Sen. Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocratic senator blasts ‘draconian’ press restrictions during impeachment trialFeds seek 25-year sentence for Coast Guard officer accused of targeting lawmakers, justicesClinton: McConnell’s rules like ‘head juror colluding with the defendant to cover up a crime’MORE (N.Y.), the top Senate Democrat, portrayed their arguments as totally unconvincing and having discreet and demonstrable factual errors in remarks on Wednesday.
Conservative lawyer George ConwayGeorge Thomas ConwayGeorge Conway on Trump adding Dershowitz, Starr to legal team: ‘Hard to see how either could help’George Conway group drops ad seeking to remind GOP senators of their ‘sworn oaths’ ahead of impeachment trialTrump suggests LBJ is in hell: ‘He’s probably looking down or looking up’MORE, a fierce Trump critic and husband of White House adviser Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayKellyanne Conway: Martin Luther King would oppose impeaching TrumpGeorge Conway on Trump adding Dershowitz, Starr to legal team: ‘Hard to see how either could help’White House pushes back on Parnas allegationsMORE, also asserted on CNN that Trumps attorneys were making deceptive arguments and treating the Senate like theyre morons.
But overall, the news was good for Trumps team.
It included an expected victory when the Senate in a party-line vote approved a resolution laying out the rules for the trial that punted any decision on witnesses. Republicans defeated a number of amendments from Democrats that called for witnesses and documents to be subpoenaed.
For the next few days, Cipollone will again be out of the spotlight. But he will return to it on Saturday, when the Trump team mounts its defense.
Hell also share the stage with a slate of high-profile made-for-TV attorneys representing Trump, who were added to the defense team to much fanfare at the end of last week. These include Dershowitz as well as Kenneth Starr, the former independent counsel who investigated former president Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonTrump lawyer argues Democrats have ‘absolutely no case’ in first impeachment trial remarksMcConnell drops two-day limit on opening argumentsChelsea Clinton unveils next ‘She Persisted’ bookMORE.