On the heels of being called a “dictator” in a fiery charge that brought three days of opening statements from the Democrats to an end, Trump’s lawyers were eagerly prepared to begin his trial defense.
The president’s team of lawyers had promised a vigorous effort to be made in their opening statements of Trump’s Senate impeachment trial. On Saturday morning, they delivered.
White House counsel Pat Cipollone (pictured) argued the Democrats did not meet the burden of proof and failed to provide sufficient evidence for impeachment. Day 5 of the Senate impeachment trial would center around the facts of the case. And the facts, Cipollone assessed, “will find that the president did absolutely nothing wrong.”
The attempt to impeach the president is “very, very consequential” and “very, very dangerous,” Cipollone indicated. “[The Democrats] are asking [the Senate] to not only overturn the results of the last election, [but are also asking] to remove President Trump from the ballot in an election that’s occurring in approximately nine months,” he argued.
He pointed out emphatically that the Democrats are demanding the upper chamber of the U.S. Congress “do something no Senate has ever done, and they’re asking [the chamber] to do it with no evidence,” In the days ahead of impeachment trial, the White House counsel is incredibly confident Trump’s legal team will “confront [the Democrats] on the merits of their argument,” Cipollone added.
From the north wing of the Capitol in Washington, DC, deputy counsel to the president Michael Purpura presented the facts, as the American people were assured would take place. First, he said, transcripts did not reveal any conditions for Ukrainian security assistance or a meeting. In fact, he admitted, “the paused security assistance funds aren’t even mentioned on the call.”
Next, Purpura said, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky nor any other Ukrainian official agrees there was a “quid pro quo” or “pressure on them to review anything.”
Third, neither the president of Ukraine nor any Ukrainian official was aware “security assistance was paused until the end of August -- over a month after the July 25th call,” Purpura pointed out.
In a fourth point, the deputy counsel said, “not a single witness testified that the president himself said that there was any connection between any investigations in security assistance, a presidential meeting, or anything else.”
Next, Purpura identified that “the security assistance flowed on September 11 and a presidential meeting took place on September 25 without the Ukrainian government announcing any investigations.”
In his last point, he expressed, “the Democrats blind drive to impeach the president does not and cannot change the fact, as attested to by the Democrats’ own witnesses, that President Trump has been a better friend and stronger support of Ukraine than his predecessor [and] those are the facts.”
Purpura attested: “Each one of these six facts standing alone is enough to sink the Democrats’ case. Combined, they establish what we’ve known since the beginning: the President did absolutely nothing wrong.”
In addition to the previous points of bias and false accusation, President Trump’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow linked the case against the president to the Robert Mueller investigation, which he pointed out treated Trump unfairly during his presidency.
Patrick Philbin, deputy White House counsel, explained how the president was not awarded due process through the investigation and was withheld from the House’s impeachment process for 71 of 78 days. Philbin also expressed that the so-called “whistleblower” had political bias. And in regard to the whistleblower, Congressman Adam Schiff (D-California) had already spoken to the whistleblower before a complaint was even filed.
Cipollone brought the rare Saturday session of the Senate to end, making closing arguments which concluded the first day of an aggressive rebuttal in less than two hours. The Senate trial then adjourned until Monday at 1:00 p.m. (Eastern).