Democrats took 23 hours to make their case. Trump’s lawyers dismantled it in three. And they’re just getting started.
If you watched the beginning of the impeachment trial opening arguments by Trump’s legal team, you may have found yourself surprised by the fact that they only used three hours to make their opening remarks.
Some have speculated this is just another strategy, which is possible, but it does not fail to communicate one thing: when the facts are lined up, they seem to vindicate the POTUS.
Trump’s defense made an important display of only using evidence that the prosecutors had discovered themselves, using witness statement videos and records from their own investigation to dismantle their argument. Here are the main points that the defense team brought forward:
- Democratic prosecutors suggested Trump has “never had any interest in corruption in Ukraine before he wanted to investigate Joe Biden. The Defense brought forth several key evidences that Trump has indeed expressed interest in eliminating corruption in Ukraine even before the new President was elected there.
- Democrats constantly made arguments that the Ukraine aid was withheld based on a “Quid Pro Quo.” The Defense showed several key pieces of evidence to show that Ukraine had no idea the aid had been withheld until far after the phone conversation. Can a Quid Pro Quo exist when there is no Quo?
- Earlier in the phone transcript, Zelensky (President of Ukraine) made comments about the Javelin missiles and how they were eager to purchase more from the United States. Democrats have suggested that these missiles were crucial in providing help to Ukraine in their on-going feuds with Russia. Trump’s defense team displayed that these missiles were not a part of the Ukraine aid package and had been provided to them already.
- Next, the defense moved on to attacking the impeachment process that was used by the Democrats. In the past, according to the defense, every impeachment was voted on by the house. Then, and only then, were committees formed and began to investigate. Thus the “sole power to impeach” as given by the Constitution was not properly used, because the “sole power to impeach” was never given to certain groups within the House, but the whole House. Therefore, Democrats abused their power to impeach with an improper and bipartisan route knowing it may not move forward if done using appropriate measures.
- The defense also argued that Trump did not receive due process – the early meetings were held in secret, witnesses the Democrats called forward were never able to be cross-examined by Trump’s legal representation, Trump’s legal team was not allowed to call forth witnesses, etc.
- Also, Democrats claimed Trump “obstructed congress” as the second article of impeachment. On the contrary, the legal team argued, Trump’s letter to the house managers requesting a fair trial in which they were allowed to call forth witnesses and cross examine current witnesses was never responded to by house manager Schiff, therefore, Schiff obstructed the process. Not Trump.
- Another argument has been made that Trump withheld a White House meeting with Zelensky as part of the supposed Quid Pro Quo. This was also a lie, according to the Defense, which highlighted four separate occasions in which Trump invited Zelensky to the white house as well as a meeting in Poland in the space of four months; but they couldn’t get their schedules to match. The meeting in Poland came up, but Trump had obligations due to an emergency in the U.S. and sent the Vice President in his stead.
CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin made a couple pretty self-defeating statements in review of the trial on CNN just after the trial wrapped up on Saturday: it’s at about 2:25 into this video. I’ll start it at 2:20s for you.
The Republicans are winning here. Trump is winning here. – Jeffrey Toobin
The trial is likely to carry much more evidence today as the defense teases apart their argument and breaks down the Democratic argument further. I’ll have all the updates for you first thing tomorrow.
Matthew – Strictly News