Trump will learn his fate TODAY: Senate prepares to vote on impeachment as it’s revealed president had to ‘call and beg lawyer David Schoen to stay on his defense team after he QUIT Thursday in row over videos’
- Final arguments and a vote in the Senate trial are expected to take place in a rare Saturday session
- Trump’s defense team breezed through their arguments in three hours on Friday
- Democrat House managers used their full 16 hours over two days
- It was reported late Friday that Trump lawyer David Schoen quit the defense team on Thursday night amid a dispute
- Trump had to call him and plead for his return, sources told the the NYT
- The dispute was apparently over videos the defense presented on Friday
- They showed Democrats using terms like ‘fight like hell’ to defend Trump
- Another video accused House impeachment managers of selective editing
- It’s unclear what Schoen disagreed with that caused him to want to quit
Donald Trump is set to learn his fate in his second impeachment trial later today as a new report claimed he had to call his lead impeachment lawyer David Schoen and beg him not to quit on the eve of his defense team’s presentation to the Senate, according to a new report.
On Thursday night, Trump asked associates whether it was too late to add or remove lawyers from his defense team after Schoen quit over a dispute over how to use the videos the team presented on Friday, people briefed on the events told the New York Times.
Trump then called Schoen and persuaded him to rejoin the team, the people said. The nature of the disagreement about the videos was not immediately clear.
The news came as Senators are poised to vote on whether Trump will be held accountable for inciting the Capitol attack.
Barely a month since the deadly riot, closing arguments are set for the historic impeachment trial as senators arrive for a rare Saturday session, all under the watch of armed National Guard troops still guarding the iconic building.
Trump defense attorney David Schoen reportedly briefly quit the team on Thursday night over a dispute over how to use the videos the team presented on Friday
Trump had to call Schoen and plead with him to rejoin the team, sources say, on the night before the defense team presented its case
The US Capitol is seen on Thursday. The Senate is expected to vote on conviction or acquittal in a rare Saturday session after hearing closing arguments
Trump’s team have relied heavily on a series of videos that they presented in three hours of arguments on Friday.
But the chaos on the defense team, consisting of Schoen, Bruce Castor, and Michael T. van der Veen, continued until the last minute on Friday, with the attorneys debating the order they should speak in before the Senate, according to the Times.
In the end, van der Veen spoke first. The confusion apparently stemmed from Castor’s disastrous opening statement on Tuesday, a rambling one-hour soliloquy that enraged Trump, who was watching from Mar-a-Lago.
The Democrats are unlikely to gain a conviction, as few Republican senators have come out against Trump, who remains popular among Republican voters. At least 17 Republicans would have to defect to secure a conviction.
On Friday, Trump’s defense team breezed through their arguments in just three hours, in comparison to the Democrat House managers who used their full 16 hours over two days to make arguments.
Both sides relied heavily on videos, with Trump’s team presenting videos that purported to show that the House managers’ videos had been selectively edited and manipulated.
Video presented by the House managers earlier in the week was a vital part of their case, starting with a sobering, 13-minute clip with violence and explicit language that made the actions of the mob of Trump supporters chillingly personal.
Trump’s team presented videos (above) that purported to show that the House managers’ videos had been selectively edited and manipulated
On Wednesday, Democrats presented newly unearthed video from inside the Capitol that showed then-Vice President Mike Pence and Senators Mitt Romney and Chuck Schumer hustling to safety and gave a more dramatic view of the day’s danger than had been seen before.
On Friday, Trump’s team played extended clips of the former president speaking at a rally before the riot and at a news conference following a racial confrontation in Charlottesville, Virginia, suggesting that shorter versions presented by the House managers had been deceptively edited.
The defense team also presented a lengthy montage of Democrats vowing in political speeches to ‘fight’, a phrase Trump uttered in his January 6 speech that led in part to the incitement charge.
‘You didn’t do anything wrong,’ Trump lawyer Schoen said, addressing Democrats. ‘It’s a word people use, but please stop the hypocrisy.’
Trump’s team found video of participants in the impeachment trial calling past elections into question, even digging back to find a 2005 speech by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Using arguments frequently made on cable television, complete with their own vivid images taken during civic unrest last summer, the lawyers tried to depict Democrats as being more understanding of violence when it supported causes they were sympathetic with.
In a trial without witnesses, the House managers relied heavily on media reports and interviews. Trump´s defenders, in turn, suggested a reliance on journalists was unreliable and, again, used video to drive home that point, airing clips of House managers referring to ‘reports.’
Van der Veen said there was a double standard at the heart of the prosecution’s case, arguing that some Democrats had ‘encouraged and endorsed’ violence that erupted at some anti-racism protests across the United States last summer without facing any legal consequences.
Lawyer Michael van der Veen attacked the impeachment as a ‘sham’ process and brought up favorite targets of former President Donald Trump during the start of defense arguments on behalf of Trump Friday
‘They have clearly demonstrated that their opposition to mobs and their view of using the National Guard depends upon their political views,’ said van der Veen, a last-minute addition to the defense team who sued Trump in August in a separate case about mail voting.
Final arguments and a vote in the Senate trial are expected to take place Saturday.
Acquittal is expected in the evenly-divided Senate, a verdict that could heavily influence not only Trump´s political future but that of the senators sworn to deliver impartial justice as jurors as they cast their votes.
While it is unlikely the Senate would be able to mount the two-thirds vote needed to convict, several senators appear to be still weighing their vote. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell will be widely watched for cues, but he is not pressuring his GOP side of the aisle and is telling senators to vote their conscience.
Many Republicans representing states where the former president remains popular doubt whether Trump was fully responsible or if impeachment is the appropriate response. Democrats appear all but united toward conviction.
If Trump is acquitted, the Senate could decide to censure him or even vote to bar him from holding public office again. Asked on Thursday about pursuing the latter option, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that decision would have to wait until the end of the trial.
Senator John Thune, the No. 2 Republican in the chamber, indicated that a censure motion could be in the cards.
‘I’ve seen a couple of resolutions at least that I think could attract some support,’ Thune told reporters. He added that he did not think an effort to bar Trump from holding office again under the 14th Amendment would go anywhere.
Democrat Senator says Trump’s impeachment should be SUSPENDED so they can depose Kevin McCarthy over furious riot phone call and Tommy Tuberville over claims the president knew Pence was in danger
A Senate Democrat has called for the suspension of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in order to depose Senator Tommy Tuberville and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy about their conversations with the former president during the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat and one of the 100 jurors in the trial, issued the call in a tweet late on Friday, one day before the trial was expected to conclude in an acquittal.
‘Tomorrow just got a lot more interesting,’ Whitehouse wrote, referring to reports that McCarthy lambasted Trump in an expletive-laden diatribe telling him to call off his mob of loyalists, and following Tuberville’s admission that he told Trump that Vice President Mike Pence was being evacuated from the Senate.
‘What did Trump know, and when did he know it?’ asked Whitehouse. ‘One way to clear it up? Suspend trial to depose McCarthy and Tuberville under oath and get facts. Ask Secret Service to produce for review comms back to White House re VP Pence safety during siege.’
Democrat Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont is presiding over the trial as president pro tempore of the Senate, after Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts declined to participate.
Senate procedures do not place a time limit on impeachment trials, and the presiding officer of the trial has the power to direct the proceedings and rule on all questions of evidence. Leahy presumably has the power to halt the trial for depositions if they are requested by the House impeachment managers, who are acting as the prosecutors in the case.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat and one of the 100 jurors in the impeachment trial, issued the call to suspend the proceedings in a tweet late on Friday, one day before the trial was expected to conclude in an acquittal
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, seen with Trump last year, reportedly had a phone shouting match with the former president on January 6, demanding that he act to call off the mob of his supporters attacking the Capitol
Senator Tuberville of Alabama said he told Trump that VP Mike Pence was being evacuated from the Senate
Whitehouse’s call follows new bombshell details from a call between Trump and McCarthy that show a president who was unwilling to call off his mob of supporters during the riot.
CNN reported Friday that Trump and McCarthy engaged in an expletive-laced shouting match during the riot, with the California Republican begging the president to rein in his supporters.
‘Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,’ Trump said, according to lawmakers who were briefed on the call by McCarthy.
McCarthy, who was described by CNN as ‘furious,’ yelled at Trump that the rioters were breaking his windows.
‘Who the f**k do you think you are talking to?’ the top House Republican yelled at the president of the United States.
CNN’s sources were Republican members of Congress, who believed that the contents of the call prove that Trump had no interest in calling off the deadly riot.
‘He is not a blameless observer, he was rooting for them,’ one GOP unnamed lawmaker said. ‘On January 13, Kevin McCarthy said on the floor of the House that the President bears responsibility and he does.’
‘This proves that the president knew very early on – what the mob was doing, and he knew members were at risk and he refused to act … it’s a violation of his oath of office to fail to come to this defense of Congress and the constitutional process immediately,’ another GOP member familiar with the call told CNN.
Meanwhile, Tuberville’s conversation with Trump is of interest to Democrats because Trump sent a tweet at 2.24pm on January 6 saying that Pence didn’t have ‘the courage’ to challenge the election results.
If Tuberville’s account is correct, then Trump would likely have known before sending the tweet that Pence had been evacuated and was in danger. At the time, the rioters had already broken into the Capitol, some of them calling for Pence’s death.
New details about a call between President Donald Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (pictured) suggest Trump was unwilling to call off the MAGA mob, even yelling at the House’s top Republican: ‘Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are’
CNN’s blockbuster report about the McCarthy call comes after Trump’s lawyers laid out their case in the Senate impeachment trial. Trump’s lawyers denied he knew people, like Vice President Mike Pence, were in harm’s way
After Friday’s proceedings, Tuberville, an Alabama Republican, stood by his account, paraphrasing his January 6 phone conversation with Trump.
‘Mr. President, they’ve taken the vice president out. They want me to get off the phone, I gotta go,’ Tuberville recalled telling Trump during the Capitol attack.
However during Friday’s impeachment trial, Trump’s lawyers tried to deny the president even knew that individuals like Pence were in peril.
‘The answer is no. At no point was the president informed the vice president was in any danger,’ Trump’s attorney Bruce Castor said, despite Tuberville’s remarks.
On Friday night, Whitehouse said that Trump’s attorneys were ‘under ethics obligation’ to clear up the record about what Trump knew on the day of the riot.
‘You don’t get as counsel to make misrepresentations; if you do, you have an affirmative duty to clean it up,’ wrote Whitehouse.
The Senate had been scheduled to hear closing arguments in the trial on Saturday, and was also expected to vote on conviction or acquittal — but Whitehouse’s proposal raised the possibility of a delay.
However, his proposal to depose McCarthy and Tuberville drew scorn from Republican strategist Matt Whitlock, who said it was too late in the process to depose new witnesses.
‘This is exactly what the House was supposed to do before it got to a Senate trial,’ Whitlock tweeted. ‘You don’t suspend an impeachment trial to go back and redo the House’s job and investigate and collect sworn testimony. Compare to the first impeachment where they spent months building a case.’
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