President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial continues on Wednesday as Senators will get to ask written questions.
Stay tuned to Breitbart News for live updates. All times eastern.
11:05 PM: Trial adjourns until 1 PM on Thursday.
11:00 PM: Senators from Indiana ask both parties about witnesses/testimony. They say House managers promised evidence supporting each article would be overwhelming and uncontested while insisting the Senate cannot have a trial without witnesses. They ask if both parties agree that the Senate has included in evidence in this trial the testimony of every single witness except for the ICIG report that Schiff kept secret.
Schiff says the testimony of the witnesses before the House is not sufficient to relieve the Senate of its obligation to have a trial. Schiff then says they could have charged bribery but tries to make the claim that “abuse of power” is actually the “highest crime.” Schiff says if Trump’s team was operating in good faith, they would allow Roberts to make the decisions on witnesses/documents. He says they do not want the Senators to hear from Bolton. Schiff says when the American people hear Bolton firsthand, they will recognize impeachable conduct when they hear it.
Sekulow says House managers have used “overwhelmingly” and “prove” a total of 64 times in a couple of days.
10:55 PM: Sinema asks Trump’s team about the administration’s announcement to withhold aid from Northern Triangle countries and Afghanistan. She asks why the administration did not notify Congress or make Ukraine and other countries publicly aware of the hold.
Philbin says that in all of the other instances, it was clear that withholding aid was meant to sent a signal to the respective countries. Philbin contends Trump’s team did not want it to make it public because it was not being done to “send a signal” and instead was done because Trump wanted to better understand “burden-sharing” and “corruption” issues.
10:50 PM: Wicker asks Trump’s team, directed at Dershowitz, what specific dangers this impeachment poses to the republic/citizens.
Dershowitz says he came of age during McCarthyism and became a professor during the Vietnam War. He says he has never lived in a more divisive time than today. He says we live in extraordinarily dangerous times. He says it is the responsibility of the Senate, whose job it is to look forward, to make sure the divisions don’t grow even greater. He asks the Senators, the guardians of the future, to reserve impeachment only for extraordinary cases like Nixon’s and this is far from that.
He says if Trump were remove, it would pose “existential dangers” because the decision would not be easily accepted by many Americans.
10:45 PM: In response to a question from Blunt and other GOP Senators about what the founders intended with their super-majority threshold for the Senate, Dershowitz emphasizes they plainly wanted impeachment/removal to be bipartisan.
10:37 PM: Gillibrand and other Democrats ask the House mangers how Trump’s hold was different from others.
Crow says what Trump did was not the same as reviewing foreign aid so that it aligns with the president’s foreign policy objectives. He says had Trump gone through the inter-agency review process and the congressional certification process, then they would have the documents and the facts to back that up. He says they have none of the documents. Crow says Obama notified Congress of various holds. He says Trump’s other holds (Afghanistan, Central America) were done for reasons related to official U.S. policy and were not concealed.
10:31 PM: Collins asks the House managers about the House judiciary report that asserted Trump committed criminal bribery and honest services fraud. She asks why they were not included in the articles.
Jeffries says the first article includes “corrupt abuse of power” and again details how Trump’s “scheme” was executed in a variety of ways and how it was “akin” to a crime. Doesn’t directly answer question.
10:25 PM: House Managers given a chance to speak about foreign interference in election. Schiff says Trump’s team is arguing that is okay to criminally conspire with another country so long as the president thinks his election will help the country. Schiff calls it a “remarkable evolution of the president’s defense.”
10:19 PM: GOP Senators ask if a president can be impeached and removed for obstruction of Congress for asserting his Constitutional rights. Philbin says constitutionally, the answer is no.
10:12 PM: Peters asks the House managers is “abuse of power” requires a corrupt charge to succeed.
After saying someone is not innocent if they attempt murder and don’t succeed, Lofgren says Trump has made it clear he can do whatever he wants. She calls out Philbin for his election interference remarks and says new dangers are being created by asserting such defenses
10:10 PM: Senate resumes and Philbin says they have not had an opportunity to examine the whistleblower’s connections. He says Schiff was guiding the process and that creates a real “due process defect” in the record.
10:05 PM: Senate expected to resume soon to finish Wednesday’s session.
9:41 PM: Coons question to Trump’s team is about Trump’s past comments about foreign involvement in elections.
Philbin says it is a mistake to think that any information on a political opponent that comes from overseas is foreign intervention. He is information about potential wrongdoing would be relevant information for voters.
9:40 PM: Dershowitz pointing out that the president is executive branch while not even the Supreme Court Chief Justice is the head of the judicial branch. Presidents are irreplaceable and that’s the difference between presidential and judicial impeachments.
9:30 PM: Klobuchar back up and asks a question for the House managers about witnesses. She asks what possible reason could there be for allowing 26 witnesses for a judicial impeachment (Thomas Porteous) and none for a presidential impeachment.
Schiff says there is no reason because impeachment of a president is far more consequential.
9:25 PM: Rubio and other GOP Senators ask Trump’s team how would the framers view removing the president without an overwhelming consensus of the American people and with articles of impeachment supported only be one party.
Dershowitz cites Hamilton, saying the greatest danger would be partisan impeachment. Dershowitz says they would be “appalled” and in violation of the “Schumer rule.” He says the House may not use the Maxine Waters standard (whatever the House says it is). He again lectures about mixed motives.
9:18 PM: King asks the House managers about Giuliani’s “political errand” in Ukraine. He wonders if Trump’s mention of Giuliani conclusively establishes the real purpose of the call.
Nadler details how Giuliani played a key role in Trump’s “scheme.” He says Trump’s team is trying to minimize Giuliani’s role.
9:08 PM: Whitehouse asks Trump’s team to answer when Trump was first interested in Ukraine corruption and says Philbin didn’t answer the question the last time it was asked. Philbin said he did so the best of his abilities given the information in the record and the public domain.
9:03 PM: Murkowski asks House managers why they did not re-issue subpoenas.
Garcia gives a rambling answer about how courts have recognized Congress’s right to get information so the president can’t hide wrongdoings and nullify Congress’s impeachment powers. She claims there is no requirement for the full House to take a vote before asking for subpoenas and accuses Trump’s lawyers of “inventing” this theory.
8:58 PM: Cortez-Masto asks the House managers about due process.
Demings says Trump is not the victim. She says Trump was invited to attend and participate in all of the Judiciary Committee’s hearings and was given his due process rights.
8:53 PM: Romney now submits a question. He asks Trump’s team on what specific date did Trump first order the hold and did he explain the reason at that time.
Philbin says there is no evidence in the record of the specific date. He says there is testimony that officials were aware of a hold as of July 3rd. He says there is evidence of Trump’s rationale. Philbin says there is evidence Trump expressed concerned about burden-sharing (June 24th Department of Defense emails) and how the funds would be spent.
8:51 PM: In response to a question from Durbin about whether Trump needs to identity specific documents if he asserts executive privilege, Nadler says Trump has asserted absolute immunity and not executive privilege. He says Trump fears facts and wants a bunch of diversions.
8:43 PM: Sasse, Tim Scott, and Rubio ask Trump’s team about the “golden rule of impeachment.” They want to know about limiting principles.
Cipollone says they should be guided by what Democrats have said in the past about partisan impeachment because that is a “danger sign.” He says even Pelosi has said impeachment must be bipartisan and emphasizes that it is an overturning of an election. Cipollone notes there has actually been bipartisan opposition to impeachment.
8:39 PM: Klobuchar asks the House managers if Trump’s actions were so perfect why is he not allowing testimony.
Schiff says the short answer is if Trump were so confident that it was a perfect call, he would want witnesses to come testify if there was nothing “nefarious” going on…He says Trump doesn’t want the Senators to hear what they have to say.
Schiff now says Roberts has the right to make rulings on witnesses and documents. He says the House managers are willing to be bound by whatever Roberts decides and asks if the Senators would be as willing. He says GOP Senators are afraid that Roberts will make fair rulings.
8:38 PM: GOP Senators ask whether the Chief Justice can rule on evidence or witnesses and if his decisions would be subject to judicial review.
Philbin says Roberts can make an initial determination but that determination can be challenged via majority vote.
8:30 PM: Warren asks both parties if Zelensky called Trump and offered dirt on his political rivals in exchange for Trump handing over millions in aid, that would be bribery and an impeachable offense. So why would it not be impeachable if it were the other way around.
Nadler says bribery is an impeachable offense and contained within the vague “abuse of power” charge. Nadler claims the elements of bribery and abuse of power have been “clearly established.” Nadler claims the elements have been proven beyond “any doubt.”
Philbin says the hypothetical shows Democrats are trying to smuggle in bribery through other charges. Philbin says the articles do not mention “bribery” or “extortion.” He says if a prosecutor wants to try someone for bribery, the prosecutor must put it in the indictment or it would be prosecutorial misconduct.
8:27 PM: Gardner asks Trump’s team about whether the House’s interpretation of the impeachment power is consistent with the Constitution and what prevents the House from abusing its impeachment power.
Philbin, after again saying it is against the Constitution to say that asserting executive privilege is a sign of guilt, says the Constitution gives the House the sole power of impeachment but they do not the paramount power of impeachment that destroys all other privileges and immunities. He says any president who fails to assert those privileges will do lasting damage to the executive branch and the separation of powers.
8:19 Bernie Sanders asks a question to the House managers about Trump’s documented “lies” by the mainstream media and asks why anyone should believe him that there was no quid pro quo.
Schiff is not sure where to begin with the question if to say that if every defendant can be exonerated by denying the crime, there would be no trial. He says “it doesn’t work that way.” Schiff when Trump blurted out “no quid pro quo,” that’s equivalent to saying “it wasn’t me” after being caught. Schiff wonders why so many people who leave the administration walk away with such a conviction that he is undermining the country’s security.
8:13 PM: Cassidy and Risch ask both parties about Nadler’s previous remarks about narrow and partisan impeachments that will produce division and bitterness. They ask if the current proceedings typify that given how much some House Democrats hate Trump and wanted him impeached from day one.
Philbin says the simple answer is yes and this is what Nadler warned against 20 years ago. He says there has been a faction on the left that has been trying to find an excuse to impeach Trump even before he was inaugurated and this is something “dangerous” that the framers did not want. Philbin warns “what goes around comes around” and every president will be impeached if this is allowed.
Jeffires claims this is not partisan and says impeachment and removal are necessary because Trump is interfering with fair and free elections.
8:07 PM: Schumer asks House mangers to respond to the answer that was just given.
Schiff says Trump’s team is threatening to make this process endless if Bolton testifies. He says he trusts Roberts to make decisions about witnesses and documents. Schiff claims it won’t take months of litigation. He says he has never been a fan of Bolton’s but likes him a little more than he did before.
8:05 PM: Johnson asks Trump’s team if House managers are certain it would take months to litigate a subpoena for Bolton why would it not take months to litigate subpoenas the Senate could issue.
Sekulow says that is precisely the point. He says if the Senate goes this road, there will be lengthy proceedings with a lot more witnesses. He asks if that is going to be the new norm for impeachment. Sekulow says Democrats are acting like this is a traffic-court proceeding.
8:00 PM: Menendez of all people is asking a question about corruption. He asks the House managers why Trump became concerned about corruption in Ukraine in 2019.
Crow repeats House Democrats’ talking points about how Trump was afraid of Biden. He says Trump withheld foreign aid that he was happy to give in the two prior years.
7:56 PM: Sullivan and Lankford as Trump’s team about the conflicting testimony re: how long the Senate could be tied up obtaining evidence. They ask how long do they think the trial would take had the Senate adopted all of the amendments.
Sekulow says “a long time.” He says “months” because Schiff could also assert some “speech and debate privileges” as well. He says this would be the first of many weeks. Sekulow says Democrats put this forward in an aggressive way and now they say witnesses after saying more than 30 times that they have proved
7:53 PM: Merkley and other Democrats ask the White House’s team to clarify their answers about Bolton’s manuscript. They want to know when they first learned of it and whether political officials made the decision to try to block Bolton from publishing.
Philbin says the lawyers first learned about the report on Sunday afternoon. He says the White House counsel’s office is not involved in classification reviews and says the career officials at the NSC conduct the reviews.
7:50 PM: Trump’s team asked about the House managers’ assertion that Hunter Biden’s corruption claims have been debunked.
Herschmann says the House managers haven’t cited any evidence because none exists. He says how can you tell the American people it doesn’t merit inquiry when the VP’s son is making more in a month than Senators make in a year for purportedly overseeing the legal department of a corrupt Ukrainian company.
7:41 PM: Next up is Durbin, who asks the House managers to respond to the answer that was just given.
Garcia says Trump only sought to investigate the Bidens only after he entered the race and had no interest when Biden wasn’t running against him.
7:35 PM: Crapo and other Senators ask Trump’s team if the evidence shows that it is in the national interest to investigate Hunter Biden’s dealings.
Philbin says the evidence would show that and goes over Hunter’s lack of corruption and Burisma’s corruption. He notes Hunter’s business partner severed his relationship with him over Hunter’s Burisma appointment. He says all of the testimony indicated that there was an appearance of a conflict of interest.
7:31 PM: Udall and three other Democrats ask House managers about Trump’s children benefiting from foreign investments. They ask House managers if Kushner’s dealings with foreign governments should also come under investigation given the White House’s standards for the Bidens.
Demings says Senators need to stay focused and not on smoke and mirrors. She says to focus on Trump’s attempts to “shake down” the Ukrainians to help him “cheat.” She says this doesn’t have anything to do with Trump’s children or the Bidens’ children.
7:26 PM: Senate reconvenes and McSally sends in a question with other GOP Senators. House managers asked if the articles include anything related to bribery or extortion.
Philbin says the articles do not charge Trump with bribery, extortion, or any other crime. He says it is impermissible to try to convict Trump for crimes that were not in the articles. He says what Schiff is attempting would result in a mistrial and Schiff knows that as a former prosecutor.
6:32 PM: Senate in recess for dinner for about 45 minutes.
6:26 PM: House Managers asked if a reasonable judge would constitute that the Senate conducted a fair trial if witnesses with first-hand knowledge did not testify.
Schiff says it would not be fair and then again attacks Dershowitz. He says you can say whatever you want about Dershowitz but you can’t say that he is unprepared. He doesn’t buy the argument that Dershowitz just read and studied more during the last 21 years.
6:20 PM: Trump’s team asked how does the non-criminal standard advanced by the House managers differ from “maladministration” that the founders rejected.
Dershowitz says when the framers rejected maladministration, they did so because they did want the country to become a parliamentary democracy. He says Nadler was wrong when he said Dershowitz was the only scholar who supported the view that a crime must be committed for a president to be impeached. He says these scholars are influenced by their own politics and biases and they dot not give objective assessments of the Constitutional histories. He mocks Prof. Tribe for getting “woke” after Trump got elected re: impeachment standards. He again says “abuse of power” is too vague a term and would destroy the impeachment criteria of the Constitution.
6:15 PM: GOP Senators (Hoevan, Boozman, Portman) ask if Zelensky met any of the alleged requirements to get the military assistance.
Purpura says the very short answer is “no.” No statements made and no investigations announced.
6:10 PM: Both parties asked about what Bolton meant about a “drug deal” and if Bolton ever raised the issue with Trump.
Schiff says when Bolton brought up the drug deal, it was in the context of a July 10 meeting at the White House. Schiff says Bolton did not attend a subsequent meeting Philbin says there are conflicting accounts and he won’t speculate about what he meant by that.
6:05 PM: Burr asks Trump’s team to respond to Mulvaney’s “quid pro quo” remarks at press conference.
Purpura says Mulvaney has issued two statements. Purpura reading Mulvaney’s statement in which he said there was “absolutely no quid pro quo” and blames the media for misconstruing his remarks to attack Trump. In the statement, Mulvaney says the Trump administration withheld the money over corruption fears and to ensure taxpayer funds were not being wasted. In the statement, Mulvaney says there was no connection between the funds and the DNC server. He says if Mulvaney “garbled” his words then, he has been “very clear” about a lack of a quid pro quo since.
6:01 PM: Manchin asks both parties about high crimes and misdemeanors. He says the House has impeached and the Senate has convicted people who have not committed statutory crimes. He asks what has happened in the last 22 years to change the original intent of the founders.
Dershowitz’s answer is that he has read and studied more and altered his views.
Nadler says a crime need not be an impeachable offense and an impeachable offense need not be a crime. He says this has been recognized by all scholars except for Dershowitz.
5:47 PM: Schumer asks both parties if they can name a witness or document Trump has given the House access to after being requested.
Philbin again arguing that the White House did not engage in “blanket defiance” while Lofgren says the House has not received anything. Lofgren now making an argument against absolute immunity.
5:45 PM: Kennedy and Moran ask what Hunter Biden did to get paid so lucratively by Burisma.
Bondi says Hunter Biden attended one board meeting in Monaco and went on fishing excursions.
5:39 PM: Booker asks the House managers if a president can conceal information Congress cannot get by asserting executive privilege.
Jeffries says Trump alone has the power to assert executive privilege and has not formally asserted it over any single document. He argues that Trump has no right for “blanket defiance” to protect his own misconduct and wrongdoing. Jeffries says if Senators want a fair trial, it should involve documents like Bolton’s notes.
5:32 PM: Murkowski and other GOP Senators ask both parties about the standard of proof…preponderance of proof, clear and convincing, beyond a reasonable doubt…?
Lofgren says there is no court case on this and the Constitution does not specify the House’s or the Senate’s evidentiary burden of proof. She says the House Judiciary Committee held itself to the “clear and convincing” standard during Nixon’s impeachment process. House did not have a standard when impeaching Clinton. She recommends against including an express standard and supports “finding the facts” without legal technicalities. She says there is much truth to allowing each Senator to making a judgment.
Philbin says impeaching a president is an issue of “breathtaking importance” and says lawmakers advocated a “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard during the Clinton debates. Philbin says the preponderance standard is “wholly inefficient.”
5:28 PM: House managers asked if Mulvaney waived his executive privilege at his October press conference.
Jeffries insists Mulvaney has never asserted executive privilege. He says there is no law to support that Mulvaney is absolutely immune. Jeffries continues to say that Trump tried to cheat, got caught, and then worked hard to cover it up. He says the Senate can get to the truth by calling witnesses to testify and any issues can be worked out by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
5:25 PM: Thune gives Trump’s team an opportunity to respond to the House managers’ responses on the previous questions.
Philbin says he is willing to bet the “missing witness rule” does not apply if a witness has asserted a valid privilege.
5:11 PM: House managers asked if the whistleblower worked for Biden given the IG report about “political bias.”
Schiff plays a slide of Republicans (Grassley, Romney, Burr, Nunes) saying whistleblowers should be protected, says it has been a bipartisan priority. Schiff says he doesn’t know who the whistleblower is and the committee staff did not write the complaint or coach the whistleblower on what to put into the complaint.
5:07 PM: Blumental asks Trump’s team if anyone in the White House or outside the White House that publication of Bolton’s book would be politically problematic for the president.
Philbin says nobody told them it would be problematic.
5:05 PM: Philbin detailing all of the mainstream media reports about Burisma’s shadiness after being asked when the U.S. developed concerns about Burisma and corruption. Philbin notes that everyone who has testified said that there was at least an appearance of a conflict of interest.
4:57 PM: Harris and Murray ask the House managers that now there is tape of Trump wanting Yovanovitch fired, will there be new evidence that will come to light after the Senate renders a verdict.
Schiff says there will be new information coming out when Bolton’s book goes public. He says there will be new evidence that will come out all the time.
4:50 PM: Collins, Murkowski ask if Trump mentioned Joe or Hunter Bidens to the Ukrainians before Biden entered the race.
Philbin says Trump spoke about corruption but nothing in the public record about the Bidens.
He also says Senators must take into account the utility of bringing up Biden with Poroshenko and adds Zelensky’s election opened up an opportunity to discuss Hunter Biden’s corruption.
4:45 PM: Cardin and Baldwin ask the managers if the White House is correct that the Ukrainians did not know about the withholding of assistance.
Crow says the answer is no and he proposes the Senate subpoenas Cooper’s emails. He says the Ukrainians were consistently asking about it including American business contractors.
4:37 PM: Trump’s team asked if Ukrainian officials knew about the hold on aid before the Politico article because Laura Cooper received queries.
Purpura says the overwhelming body of information shows that they did not. He said Cooper said he was not certain what the emails were about. Purpura says Ukrainian officials never raised any questions in meetings with U.S. officials about the pause on aid. He says as soon as the Politico article, there were questions about the aid within hours and that is consistent with someone finding out about it for the first time.
4:32 PM: Feinstein and other Dem. Senators ask about Trump’s “blanket refusal” to cooperate and what the consequences would be if Congress allows it.
Lofgren says Trump has taken an extreme measure to hide evidence from Congress. She says even Nixon told his senior officials to testify before Congress. Logren says Trump issued a “blanket order” directing the executive branch to withhold all documents and testimony. She says it could open the door to eliminating impeachment and oversight.
4:27 PM: Ernst and other GOP Senators asks Trump’s team about the Trump administration approval of lethal aid to Ukraine against the advice of the Secretary of Defense.
Philbin says the Trump administration made the decision to send anti-tank Javelin missiles while the Obama administration did not. He says it has strengthened Ukraine’s ability to resist the Russians and cites Yovanovitch’s testimony. Philbin says he thinks it is accurate that Trump made the decision against the advice of the Sec. of Defense.
4:25 PM: Trump’s team asked when it learned Bolton’s manuscript had been submitted to the White House for review and if the White House tried to block Bolton from publishing the book.
Philbin says an NSC pre-publication review found the manuscript contained classified information, including at the top-secret level, that could harm the country and could not be published in its current form without some deletions.
4:21 PM: Lee, Cruz, Hawley ask if there is any reason to believe if the whistleblower coordinated with Schiff’s staff to “take out” Trump.
Philbin says there is no knowledge of that except for what is in public reports. He doesn’t want to speculate because everything has been clouded in secrecy.
4:15 PM: King asks both sides about John Kelly’s recent remarks about the need for Bolton to testify. He asks if they agree with Kelly.
Sekulow says there have been forceful statements about Bolton’s manuscript has been grossly mischaracterized. He says if the House managers get witnesses, the White House would get witnesses and it would change the nature and scope of the hearings.
Schiff says Kelly’s remarks are significant because he is saying he believes Bolton and not Trump. He says the question is whether the Senators believe Bolton and want to evaluate his credibility themselves.
4:07 PM: Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee ask Trump’s which had a greater impact–Trump’s withholding of military assistance of Obama’s denial of “lethal aid.”
Philbin says Obama’s decision was far more serious and jeopardized the Ukrainians more.
3:38 PM: Senate in recess until 4 PM.
3:32 PM: Harris, who had to get in Trump’s “if you’re a star, they let you do it” remarks before he even ran for office, says Trump’s past statements suggest Trump is above the law. She asks how America’s system of justice would be undermined if the Senate did not hold Trump to account.
Schiff says Trump sees the state as being himself.
3:27 PM: After Nadler rambles about how Trump betrayed the public trust by ignoring the law and Constitution to try to get Ukrainians to do him a political favor, Sekulow now, in response to an open-ended question to respond to previous arguments, says there is no precedent for Roberts ruling executive privilege issues. He calls out Schiff for not responding to the hypothetical about Romney’s son and says Crossfire Hurricane targeted a political rival in response to Schiff’s remarks about how president’s should not call for investigations into their political rivals.
3:15 PM: Trump’s team asked if subpoenas issued before an impeachment resolution is an invalid exercise of power.
Philbin says there has to be some type of rule/resolution to give House committees authority to issue subpoena. He says subpoenas are invalid if the committee cannot trace them back to a rule/resolution as is the case here with 23 invalid subpoenas that were properly resisted.
3:10 PM: Peters asks the managers if a breach of public trust is sufficient to satisfy the “high crimes and misdemeanors” standard.
Lofgren says the framers were clear that abuse of power is an impeachable offense.
3:05 PM: Graham and Cruz ask the House managers if Mitt Romney’s son had been paid $1 million/year by a corrupt Russian company, would Obama have authority to have the Romneys investigated.
Schiff, changing the subject and not responding to the hypothetical, just says the hypothetical is a bit off and says it is remarkable that we are even having this conversation. He just keeps talking about how Trump was targeting the Bidens. No follow-ups so they can answer questions however they want to…
3:01 PM: In response to a question about if there is documentary evidence that Trump was acting in the national interest, Crow says if this were a specific debate about policy, corruption, burden-sharing, “then lets have the documents that would show that. Let’s have the witnesses that would show that.”
2:55 PM: Cornyn asks what the consequences would be for the executive branch if Senate resolves executive privilege claims without trials in in Article III court.
Philbin warns that it would make the executive less efficient because a president would not be able to communicate in confidence and everything would then have to be tempered.
Senators’ question cards for Senate impeachment trial of President Trump being held during the second session of 116th Congress. pic.twitter.com/crk8k8zayM
— Craig Caplan (@CraigCaplan) January 29, 2020
2:49 PM: Next question to House managers about depositions potentially slowing down process. Carper asks isn’t it true the depositions for the three witnesses in Clinton’s trial lasted one day each.
Jeffries says it is true. He says this is a trial and a trial involves witnesses, documents, and evidence. He says the Senate has had witnesses in every single trial and asks why Trump should be treated differently and held to a lower standard.
2:45 PM: Portman asks Trump’s team the implications of allowing the House to present an incomplete case to the Senate and forcing the Senate to be investigators given all the other legislative work it has to do.
Philbin says this is one of the most important issues the Senate is facing. Philbin says it would be “very grave” to run impeachment in an upside down manner because it would prevent the Senate from conducting its regular business. Philbin says the Senate will take over the investigatory task and all of the regular business will be hindered. He again says Trump would be allowed to call witnesses and “there would be a long list of witnesses” that would take “months.” He warns of the “dangerous precedent” of this “new normal” of allowing the House to dump incomplete articles of impeachment on the Senate. He says it will forever change the relationship between the House and the Senate in terms of the way impeachment is operated. Philbin says it is vital for the Senate to consider the implications of the Senate being “paralyzed” and making it easier for the House to impeach presidents.
2:38 PM: House managers asked to address White House’s argument that this should be left to the voters and impeaching a president voids the last election.
Schiff says impeachment protects the next election and if that is the case, there would be no impeachment clause in the Constitution. Schiff argues if this is what the founders wanted and a president could only be impeached in the second term, they would have said a president could commit high crimes and misdemeanors in the first term.
2:32 PM: Next question from Cotton and other GOP Senators if the House bothered to litigate privilege issues or seek testimony in the month they held up the articles.
Philbin says they did not seek to litigate and did not file anything. He says when litigation was filed by one of the subpoena recipients, he sought a declaratory judgment the House managers withdrew the subpoena so they wouldn’t get a decision.
2:27 PM: Stabenow asks if the House managers would like to correct any falsehoods made by Trump’s team.
Lofgren says Trump’s team claimed the Ukrainians never felt pressured but the Ukrainians were privately pressured and the White House meeting never occurred even though Trump met with Zelensky. She rambles about how Trump appeared to be pursuing corrupt interests and not foreign policy interests.
2:21 PM: Grassley asks if the House’s refusal to enforce subpoenas make the “obstruction of Congress” theory unprecedented.
Philbin says yes. He is unaware of any case where the House issued subpoenas, got resistance, and then threw up its hands, and then claimed obstruction. Philbin says the Constitution requires incrementalism in disputes between the branches and the House never sought accommodation and took the next steps.
2:17 PM: Schumer asks the House managers to respond to Dershowitz.
Schiff says he would be delighted. Schiff says there would be no question Obama would be impeached if he had asked Medvedev to investigate Romney.
2:10 PM: Cruz asks if, as a matter of law, it matters if there was a quid pro quo and whether it is common in foreign policy.
Dershowitz says the only thing that would make a quid pro quo unlawful is if the “quo” was something that was illegal.
2:07 PM: Leahy asks House managers to respond to Trump’s claim that he has treated Ukraine more favorably than his predecessors.
Demings, stumbling a bit, is having trouble responding to a question from a Democrat that there was no harm, no foul. She ultimately says Trump undercut Ukraine’s ability to negotiate with Russia and “there was harm and there was foul.”
2:02 PM: Next question (from Kennedy) to both parties is why did the House managers not challenge Trump’s executive privilege/immunity arguments.
Jeffries claims Trump didn’t raise the executive privilege argument and instead made a “blanket defiance” argument. Philbin says it is “incorrect” that there was no case law from the White House. He cites his presentation in which he put up slides of all of the letters from the White House counsel/OMB/State Department re: invalid subpoenas. Philbin says Schiff never corrected/challenged in court.
1:55 PM: Shaheen asks if a president doesn’t commit a crime, can a president be impeached for abuses of power like ordering an opponent’s taxes to be audit.
Garcia says the short answer is a president can be impeached without statutory crimes. She cites Nixon/Clinton impeachment proceedings. She say a majority of impeachments in the House have included charges that were not statutory crimes. Seems like she had a pre-written response to the question.
1:50 PM: Next question is from Lee, who asks the president’s counsel if it is the president’s place to conduct foreign policy.
Philbin says it is definitely the president’s place to set foreign policy and the Constitution vests the entire authority in the president. He says the president is elected by the people every four years and that’s what gives the president “democratic legitimacy” to have broad executive powers. He says if staffers disagree with him, that does not mean the president is doing something wrong. Philbin says this is important because the House managers are trying to impeach Trump on “some subjective motive” and are trying to prove their case by comparing what Trump wanted to do with what the career bureaucrats wanted. Philbin hammering that House managers are trying to get Trump removed based on “policy differences.”
1:45 PM: Feinstein asks the House managers if it is true, as Trump’s lawyers have stated, that there is no evidence that Trump linked security assistance to any investigation.
Crow says there is overwhelming evidence Trump withheld military aid for personal benefit. Crow says Messrs. Sondland, Pence, Pompeo also were aware of the “conditionality of the aid.”
1:40 PM: Blackburn, Cramer, Lee, Loeffler, McSally ask the president’s counsel if the standard for impeachment in the House is a lower threshold to meet than the standard for conviction in the Senate and whether the House managers have met the evidentiary standard for removal.
Philbin says an impeachment is simply an accusation so the House does not have to adhere to the same standard the Senate must have. He says it is definitely a lower standard than the standard that must be met at a trial. He says there doesn’t need to be proof beyond a reasonable doubt for the House to vote on impeachment. Philbin says in the Senate, the House managers must show proof beyond a reasonable doubt and “they have failed.”
1:35 PM: In response to a question about whether House Managers asked Bolton to testify, Schiff says: “Of course the answer is yes.” Schiff says Bolton refused. Schiff says
1:29 PM: Next up is Thune with a question for the president’s counsel. He wants them to respond to the arguments and assertions the House managers just made in response to the previous question.
Philbin says Schiff suggested that there is no evidence that Trump was interested in burden-sharing because he didn’t raise it in the phone call with Sondland that was overheard. Philbin says the transcript and emails show Trump was concerned about burden-sharing. He notes Trump told Zelensky that Merkel’s Germany was not doing as much as the United States and Zelensky agreed with him on the call.
1:22 PM: Schumer asks the House managers about Bolton’s forthcoming book. He asks if there is any way for the Senate to render a verdict without seeing the relevant documentary evidence and without hearing from Bolton/Mulvaney.
Schiff says “the short answer is no” and there is no way to have a fair trial without witnesses. Schiff says if there is any question about Trump’s motivations, it is necessary to call Bolton.
Schiff just exposed how much his case has unraveled:
His team claimed just before the trial started that their case was overwhelming, uncontested, indisputable & proof beyond a doubt.
Now Schiff just said he can’t prove his case w/o obtaining new evidence he doesn’t yet have.
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) January 29, 2020
1:13 PM: Roberts gavels in the Senate. Collins is first up and sends a question to the desk on behalf of herself and Sens. Murkowski and Romney. She asks if Trump had more than one motive for his conduct, how should the Senate consider more than one motive in its assessment of article I. He says the “Biden situation” is at least worth raising a question about and that means “their case fails.”
Philbin says the standard must be “no possible public interest at all.” He says if there is something that shows a possible public interest motive, “that destroys their case.” He says once you are into “mixed-motive land, their case fails.”
1:10 PM: For some reason, Trump thought it was a good idea to hire someone whose foreign policy views were antithetical to everything Trump campaigned on in his 2016 America-first campaign.
This is intriguing because Nancy Pelosi announced the impeachment inquiry the day after this call https://t.co/sNveQ8QPpT
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 29, 2020
12:50 PM: Senators will have 16 hours over the next two days to ask questions. There will then be four hours of debate on potential witnesses and documents.
There is much talk that certain Democrats are going to be voting with Republicans on the Impeachment Hoax, so that the Senate can get back to the business of taking care of the American people. Sorry, but Cryin’ Chuck Schumer will never let that happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 29, 2020