Impeachment trial of President Trump
President Trump just sent his 54th tweet of the day. The large majority of the tweets and retweets today are on impeachment and criticizing Democrats.
Here's the 11:56 a.m. ET tweet:
In his latest Trump writes, “ The Do Nothing Democrats just keep repeating and repeating, over and over again, the same old “stuff” on the Impeachment Hoax. They want to use up ALL of their time, even though it is the wrong thing to do. They ought to go back to work for our great American people!”
Senator John Hoeven, a Republican from North Dakota, said he will not “prejudge” anything about whether he would support additional witnesses before arguments have finished.
“They’ve gone through everything in great detail, so I’m sure we’ll hear very extensively what those arguments are and where is it protecting the checks and balances between executive, legislative and judicial,” before deciding if more information is needed, he said.
He added: "I'm not gonna prejudge that at this point. The House managers are presenting... now the administration will have the opportunity to present, we’ll listen to that. Then we have time for questions so senators can ask their questions."
What this is about: At least 51 senators must vote in order to subpoena documents and witnesses. If all 47 senators who caucus with the Democrats vote for the motion, at least four Republican senators would need to join them in order to pass it.
At least three Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney — have suggested they're open to considering witnesses.
GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham said today that the House impeachment managers have been “very professional, very respectful” in presenting their case, despite a couple of “dust-ups” at the beginning of the trial.
But he criticized Democrats for being repetitive, saying the managers are “over-trying their case."
“It became mind-numbing after a while,” said Graham. “Eventually it gets just hard to follow.”
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham just appeared on Fox News and stuck to the same White House lines on the possibility of having witnesses at trial.
Grisham repeated that President Trump “would love” for witnesses to be called but quickly added: "Also you have to think about executive privilege… This President is actually trying to protect future presidents against this kind of abuse."
She criticized Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who has repeatedly demanded witnesses, including at a news conference just moments ago. (You can read more on that in the post below this one.)
"It’s not the Senate’s job to clean up after what the House did," she said.
Some context: Many Republicans have argued that the House, which conducted the impeachment investigation, should have subpoenaed more witnesses before turning the articles of impeachment over to the House. House Democrats argue that with lengthy court battles over subpoenas, the process would have been drawn out until the 2020 election.
Grisham said she “hopes” the trial is over by next Friday. She wouldn’t get into the preparations the Trump legal team has made for their opening argument, but said, “They are very well prepared, and they have a very strong case.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asked his Republican colleagues to join Democrats in voting for witnesses and documents at the Senate trial.
At least 51 senators must vote in order to subpoena documents and witnesses. If all 47 senators who caucus with the Democrats vote for the motion, at least four Republican senators would need to join them in order to pass it.
"The bottom line: We're seeking the truth at a momentous time in the American republic. It is on the shoulders of four Republican senators to join us in demanding it. We've made the argument forcefully," Schumer said.
"The American people have made the argument forcefully — that they want the truth. Will four Republican senators — just four — rise to the occasion, do their duty to the Constitution, to their country, to seek the truth?"
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Trump's defense lawyers "have their work cut out for them" following Democrats' opening arguments.
"After the very compelling case that the House managers have presented, boy, oh, boy, the President's counsel have their work cut out for them," he said.
Today is the last day for Democrats to make their opening arguments (they were allotted 24 hours over the course of three days.) When they're done, the President's legal team will get the same amount of time to make their case, although they are not required to use all of it.
The final day of the House manager's presentation today will focus on two things:
- A full dive into the merits of the second article of impeachment — which is Obstruction of Congress
- Their closing argument
They have almost eight hours to present their case today, although they don't need to use all of it.
The impeachment managers, the House Democrats who are prosecuting the case against Trump, were given 24 hours over the course of three days to lay out their case.
When the trial resumes at 1 p.m., their last day of opening arguments begins. The House managers have 7 hours and 53 minutes remaining in their allotted presentation time.
Remember: They don't have to use all of that time. When they're done, the clock starts on Trump's defense team, which also gets 24 hours over three days for opening arguments. They also don't have to use all their time.
President Trump sought to downplay his impeachment in a speech to Republican National Committee members last night in Florida, a person familiar with the remarks said.
Trump shrugged off the proceedings as “impeachment lite” and suggested it was nothing compared to Watergate. But he didn’t appear overly consumed by it, the source said.
The President is scheduled to speak at the annual March for Life in Washington, DC, today. It's not clear if he'll mention impeachment in his public speech.