The president’s lawyers glided past reports about John Bolton’s book and concluded their opening arguments with time to spare

Defense lawyers at Donald Trumps Senate impeachment trial concluded their opening arguments on Tuesday. Here are six key takeaways:
The policy dispute defense
The presidents defense argued on Monday that Trumps conduct toward Ukraine did not stem from a desire to smear the former vice-president Joe Biden, but from Trumps personal concerns about corruption in Ukraine and burden-sharing with Europe.
Trumps lawyers sought to cast the furore over his Ukraine conduct as a policy dispute. To have a removal of a president based on a policy dispute? Thats not what the framers intended, said Trumps personal lawyer Jay Sekulow.
Gliding past Bolton
But on Tuesday the defense went further, to argue that even if everything reportedly charged in a forthcoming book by the former national security adviser John Bolton is true that Trump conditioned military aid for Ukraine on the receipt by him of personal political favors that would still not be impeachable.
Even if everything in there was true, it constitutionally doesnt rise to that level of an impeachable offense, said Sekulow.
Republican Mike Braun of Indiana made the case off the Senate floor:
Senator Mike Braun (@SenatorBraun)We are soon coming to the biggest binary decision we’ll make in the whole process: convict or acquit.
Even if you take everything in the Bolton revelation as truth, would that make the difference and take you over the hump to where you’d convict a President on such a shaky case? pic.twitter.com/57n4uvA9PB
January 28, 2020
Can I get a witness?
Probably not. Sekulow argued that reports about Boltons book were inadmissible as hearsay, but the defense team simultaneously argued that no witnesses should be called.
Thats not how the public feels about it, however, according to opinion polls conducted in the past week, including one released by Quinnipiac on Tuesday:
Chris Jansing (@ChrisJansing)This is a very big number for GOP to ignore: Voters say 75 to 20 percent that witnesses should be allowed to testify in the impeachment trial, according to Quinnipiac poll
January 28, 2020
Time to spare. Lots of it
Trumps defense was spread across three days, but the first and third days were short ones an intro on Saturday and an outro on Tuesday. All told, the defense used about 10 of its 24 hours allotted for opening arguments less than half the time House managers used to present evidence against Trump.
Questions are next
The majority leader, Mitch McConnell, said the Senate would convene at 1pm Wednesday to begin a question period, which could last for a maximum of 16 hours spread over two days. Senators will submit written questions to be read by the supreme courts chief justice, John Roberts, who encouraged the counsels on Tuesday to limit their responses to five minutes apiece.
Big day on Friday
The Senate was on track to hold at least one major vote on Friday, on the question of whether to vote on individual witnesses. If the Senate decides against witnesses, then the big vote whether to convict or acquit the president could follow soon after. If Trump has his way, the impeachment process could be concluded by the weekend, well in advance of his State of the Union address scheduled on Tuesday 4 February.