House managers, who continue to argue the Senate should subpoena additional witnesses and documents from an uncooperative White House, on Friday detailed President Donald Trump’s resistance in making their case for the second article of impeachment — “obstruction of Congress” — in their final day of arguments.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that Saturday’s proceedings with Trump’s lawyers making their opening arguments would begin at 10 a.m. for a possible abbreviated session after sources said Trump’s defense team was concerned opening arguments may get buried over the weekend.
Trump weighed in Friday morning on the Saturday session, calling it “Death Valley in T.V.”
“After having been treated unbelievably unfairly in the House, and then having to endure hour after hour of lies, fraud & deception by Shifty Schiff, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer & their crew, looks like my lawyers will be forced to start on Saturday, which is called Death Valley in T.V.,” Trump tweeted.
On Thursday, while making the case for “abuse of power,” Democrats also detailed a defense of former Vice President Joe Biden and the role his son, Hunter Biden, played on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, seeming to prepare for counterattacks likely to come when Trump’s legal team takes the stage. They argued there’s no evidence of any wrongdoing and pursuing the Bidens is irrelevant.
Trump’s personal attorney, Jay Sekulow, said upon hearing the Democrats’ defense of Biden that their team would determine the appropriate way to respond now that Democrats “opened the door” to the Bidens.
“What I don’t understand is for the last five hours, it’s been a lot about Joe Biden and Burisma,” Sekulow said after Thursday’s dinner break. “They kind of opened the door for that response. So we’ll determine as a defense team the appropriate way to do it.”
Behind closed doors, the Senate Republican leadership is also laying the groundwork in its caucus for a vote against subpoenaing witnesses by warning that a guaranteed White House court fight over executive privilege would stall the trial and paralyze the Senate for months.
GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowkski of Alaska, one of the four GOP senators Democrats would need to support their call for witnesses, pointedly criticized the Democrats’ strategy.
“The House made a decision that they didn’t want to slow things down by having to go through the courts,” Murkowski told CNN. “And yet now they’re basically saying, ‘You guys gotta go through the courts. We didn’t, but we need you to.'”
You can read the rest of Benjamin Siegel, Stephanie Ebbs, Libby Cathey, Quinn Owen, and Benjamin Siu’s article at ABCnews.com