It was important since the White House has, before now, officially refused to cooperate with the impeachment process.
1. Democrats are trying to steal the 2020 election
2. There is no direct evidence of wrongdoing
Need for White House evidence
“So the President’s counsel is criticizing the case against the President for lack of sources close to the President while at the same time blocking testimony from witnesses close to the President,” he said. “It makes no sense.”
Will any senators actually flip on Trump impeachment?
Smart for Trump’s team to go quickly
The arguments lasted just about two hours. Cipollone, literally at the stroke of noon, said he was done for the day.
The fact of their brevity was a theme Trump’s lawyers continually mentioned.
‘If you’re winning, shut up’
Some supporters of impeachment praised the move, in part because Saturday morning is, as Trump has said, the Death Valley of ratings, but also as a sign of respect to senators itching to get out the door and smart, given the defense team’s strategic position.
“If you take less time and make your point more crisply, that’s probably better,” said Preet Bharara, former US attorney for the Southern District of New York
“If you’re winning, shut up,” added lawyer Jeffrey Toobin on CNN. “I think that’s the guiding principal of what they’re doing.”
Some flaws in the Trump defense
There were some flaws in their arguments.
And all that testimony did occur.
Purpura did not include the testimony of Laura Cooper, the Pentagon official who mentioned emails her office received from Ukrainians about the aid on the same day as Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian President.
Schiff turned into anti-Trump villain
His satirical paraphrasing of Trump’s call with Zelensky, for which Trump and his defenders have routinely criticized Schiff, was played and the California Democrat was accused of being a liar.
“That’s fake, that’s not the real call,” Purpua said after playing the moment. “That’s not the evidence here, that’s not the transcript.”
Purpura showed the clip from the acting DNI hearing, Schiff, the lead impeachment manager, looked at him and was watching along without expression, according to CNN’s Manu Raju.
Schiff tried to head that claim off during his arguments Friday.
“I discovered something very significant by mocking the President and that is for a man who loves to mock others, he does not like to be mocked. As it turns out, he’s got a pretty thin skin. Who would have thought it?” Schiff said, anticipating the line of questioning against him. “Never mind that I said I wasn’t using his words before I said, and I wasn’t using his words after I said it, and I said I was making a parody of his words — ‘It’s an outrage! He mocked the President, that Schiff! Terrible!'”
Trump’s defense played multiple video clips of Schiff, not just from that hearing, but also from a cable news interview in which he said there was evidence of the Trump campaign colluding with Russia. The Trump defense disputed this point and said it was part of a pattern by Schiff, misrepresenting things.
When asked by CNN about the newly revealed ABC recording of Trump, Sen. Lindsey Graham downplayed its impact. “No, I think the President had lost faith in her for reasons that are known to him, and I just don’t think there’s a problem,” said the South Carolina Republican and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Point of order: Conviction does not automatically disqualify Trump in 2020
When Cipollone alleged that Democrats are asking Americans to “remove President Trump from the ballot” in the 2020, it wasn’t technically correct.
This opens the door to Trump being removed from office, yet he is able to run for reelection in the fall. It also opens up the possibility that the Senate bars him from running for office, but allows him to remain President.
This is just a point of order, however, since there are not currently anywhere near the 67 votes needed to convict Trump.