President Donald Trump was set off by the defense mustered by his legal team at the start of his Senate impeachment trial, raging at key admissions and a presentation that appeared to drive away a key Republican vote.
Trump, viewing the proceedings from his new home at Mar-a-Lago, was aghast that one of his lawyers, Bruce Castor, acknowledged the potency of the opening argument put forward by House Democratic impeachment managers, ABC News reported.
Castor even acknowledged that his team changed course after viewing the Democrats’ presentation, which featured dramatic video of Trump supporters storming the Capitol and taunting police officers with obscenities as they bashed in doors and windows.
‘I’ll be quite frank with you, we changed what we were going to do on account that we thought that the House managers’ presentation was well done,’ Castor admitted. ‘And I wanted you to know that we have responses to those things.’
One Trump advisor even told CNN getting good legal representation was a concern if he is ever charged in criminal court, which is now possible since he is out of office.
‘Trump is f***** if anyone ever charges him. No one wants to work with him,’ said the advisor.
The concern boiling up from Florida was also playing out in the Senate hallways, where Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana called the legal presentation ‘disorganized’ and ‘random’ and said it swayed him to vote with Democrats on the issue of constitutionality.
Castor rejected criticism bubbling up when asked about it in the Senate. ‘I thought we had a good day,’ he said.
Trump’s concerns about his team’s performance came after the sudden departure of a group of South Carolina lawyers who were going to represent him at the trial, amid reports Trump wanted the trial to feature a vigorous defense of his own claims the election was stolen.
Personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani is a potential witness in the case, having also spoken to a rally before the MAGA mob ransacked the trial and urging ‘trial by combat.’ Attorneys from the first impeachment are not representing him, and he no longer has the use of the office of White House counsel now that he is out of office.
Castor made other admissions that may have grated on Trump, calling him a ‘former president’ while also saying: ‘President Trump no longer is in office. The object of the Constitution has been achieved. He was removed by the voters.’ He was arguing against the need for a post-presidency impeachment.
The Senate will move forward with its trial against Donald Trump when it meets on Wednesday after Democrats, and six Republicans, voted 56-44 Tuesday that impeaching the former president is constitutional.
But there was little sign that Democrats can gain the total of 17 Republican senators they would need to vote with them to convict Trump at the end of the trial, which could come as quickly as Saturday – despite even Republicans who voted to call off the trial mocking his defense team’s performance.
During three-and-half hours of debate on the Senate floor Tuesday, the defense and prosecution had the chance to argue whether holding an impeachment trial of a former official is in line with the Constitution.
Several Republicans, however, are ridiculing Trump’s defense team for missing the point of their outlined argument against the constitutionality of the timing of the proceedings.
‘I thought the President’s lawyer – the first lawyer just rambled on and on and on and didn’t really address the constitutional argument,’ Texas Senator John Cornyn told reporters outside the chamber following his vote against moving forward.
‘Finally, the second lawyer got around to it and, I thought, did an effective job,’ he continued, referencing David Schoen. ‘But I’ve seen a lot of lawyers and a lot of arguments and that was not one of the finest I’ve seen.’
The Republican senators who voted along with Democrats include Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania voted to move the proceedings forward.
Most surprising of the six is Cassidy, who previously agreed with 44 other Republicans that holding the trial would go against the Constitution’s intent since he is no longer the sitting president.
Cassidy was straightforward on what swayed him to change his mind: Trump’s legal defense.
‘Did you listen to it?,’ he said to reporters gathered after the vote. ‘If you listen to it, it speaks for itself. It was disorganized, random, they talked about many things but they didn’t talk about the issue at hand.’
‘And so if I’m an impartial juror, and I’m trying to make a decision based upon the facts as presented on this issue, then the House managers did a much better job,’ Cassidy said.
He also released a statement reiterating his thought process on the vote.
‘If anyone disagrees with my vote and would like an explanation, I ask them to listen to the arguments presented by the House Managers and former President Trump’s lawyers,’ the Louisiana senator said. ‘The House managers had much stronger constitutional arguments. The president’s team did not.’
He made clear in the statement, however: ‘This vote is not a prejudgment on the final vote to convict.’
Castor, however, defended himself against critics – including Republican lawmaker – claiming he doesn’t plan to switch up any legal strategy going forward in the trial.
‘I thought we had a good day,’ Castor repeatedly told press on Capitol Hill Tuesday evening when asked about criticism he didn’t make a good case against constitutionality for the trial.
‘Do you anticipate any sort of adjustments after today?’ a reporter asked of the former president’s attorney.
‘No, I set up the outline a week ago and it will not change,’ he shot back.
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Source: Daily Mail