Impeachment trial of President Trump
White House Counsel Pat Cipollone read quotes from President Trump in his opening arguments regarding the President's relationship with European countries.
In defense of the President, Cipollone repeated false claims Trump has made about contributions from European countries to Ukraine, claiming that German Chancellor Angela Merkel "talks Ukraine but she doesn't do anything. A lot of European countries are the same way."
The President has repeatedly claimed one of the reasons he withheld security assistance to Ukraine was to get other countries to contribute. The facts tell a different story.
Facts First: Germany and France have both sent millions of euros to Ukraine, along with other European nations.
The EU and its member states are the biggest contributors to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's special monitoring mission to Ukraine, to which the EU has donated "40 unarmored and 44 armored vehicles, 35 trauma kits and provided training," an EU spokesperson told CNN.
You can read a longer fact-check here.
Moments into Trump's defense team's opening arguments, Deputy White House counsel Mike Purpura played a clip of Rep. Adam Schiff talking about the transcript of the July 25 call between President Trump and Ukraine's president.
The Trump team is arguing that Schiff made up the contents of Trump's call.
After playing the video, Purpura said, "That's fake. That's not the real call. That's not the evidence here. That's not the transcript that [White House counsel] Mr. Cipollone just referenced.
He continued: "And we can shrug it off and say we were making light or a joke, but that was in a hearing in the United States House of Representatives discussing the removal of the President of the United States from office."
Here are the facts: Schiff introduced his comments at the September hearing by saying he would be outlining "the essence of what the President communicates," not providing "the exact transcribed version of the call." And it's important to note that we do not even have an "exact transcribed version" of the call -- the rough transcript released by the White House cautions explicitly that it is "not a verbatim transcript."
Still, Schiff's remarks did make it easy for viewers to get confused. He did not make clear which words he was taking directly from Trump's comments in the rough transcript, which words were his own analysis, and which words were meant to be the comedic "parody" he later said he was intending.
Read more about this here.
Watch the moment:
During his opening remarks today, White House legal counsel Pat Cipollone addressed President Trump and his relationship with Russia.
“President Trump has a strong record on confronting Russia,” Cipollone said.
Upon closer examination, the Trump administration has taken some steps to get tough on Russia, like sanctioning prominent oligarchs and sending anti-tank missiles to Ukraine.
But these actions have been repeatedly undercut or undermined by President Trump’s public comments, or other actions he’s personally taken.
For instance, he publicly sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin, over the US intelligence agencies, on the issue of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Last year, CNN tallied up 25 times Trump was soft on Russia. This included repeated praise for Putin, criticizing NATO and much more.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, says he is anticipating "a lot of table pounding" and "vitriol" from the President's defense team as they present their case.
“I'm anticipating a lot of table pounding, personal vitriol, name calling, and attacks on the Bidens, I think that the defense team is playing to an audience of one. President of the United States, and his base. I think that they know they have the numbers. They have a vote on the Senate, likely on their side. So, their pitch is going to be to an audience of one the president,” Sen. Blumenthal told CNN.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar implored her Republican colleagues this morning to include witnesses in the impeachment trial moving forward.
“I walked over right there and said to some of my colleagues, ‘come on now, that was pretty convincing,'” Klobuchar said on CNN. “I know you care about Russian expansionism, I know you care about whistle blowers. All of the arguments that were made really were meant I believe, in a good way, to say to them, 'Hey, have the courage to do what you know it right.'"
In anticipation of Trump’s legal team potentially targeting fellow presidential hopeful Joe Biden in their opening arguments today, Klobuchar she instead wants to keep focus on what she considers “relevant witnesses and relevant evidence."
White House counsel Pat Cipollone said in his opening remarks that Democrats are not only asking the Senate to remove the President from — but also the 2020 ballot.
"They're asking you not only to overturn the results of the last election, but as I have said before they're asking you to remove President Trump in the ballot in an election that's occurring in approximately nine months."
He continued: "They're asking you to tear up all of the ballots across this country on your own initiative. Take that decision away from the American people."
Watch Cipollone's remarks:
Opening arguments are underway from the White House legal counsel with attorney Pat Cipollone up first.
"The President did absolutely nothing wrong," Cipollone said.
The President's defense team has begun their remarks at the impeachment trial.
White House counsel Pat Cipollone is starting things off for the defense by saying House managers have not met their burden of proof.
"You've heard the House managers speak for nearly 24 hours over three days. We don't anticipate using that much time. We don't believe that they have come anywhere close to meeting their burden for what they're asking you to do."
The impeachment trial is back in session. Mitch McConnell said we should expect two to three hours of session today.
There will be quick break if needed.
White House counsel Pat Cipollone said it will go no longer than 1 p.m. ET. He added that their side won't take the full 24 hours over three days to defend President Trump.