President Donald Trumps attorneys dedicated the first day of their defense arguments to exposing the omissions in the narrative presented by the Democratic impeachment managers, asking the senators at the trial to consider why crucial evidence had been left out.
In arguments which lasted roughly two hours, the attorneys shed light on the context of the facts presented at length by the Democrats over the course of three prior days. The defense suggested that the omissions are intentional because the relevant facts would be fatal to the impeachment managers case.
Over the course of more than twenty hours starting on Jan. 22, the House managers presented arguments and evidence for removing the president. They accused Trump of abusing his power to interfere in an election and of obstructing justice when his alleged scheme was discovered. They allege the president withheld aid to Ukraine and the potential of a White House meeting in order to force the Ukrainian president to open investigations into Trumps political rivals, including former Vice President Joe Biden.
On Saturday, Trump attorney Pat Cipollone told the Senate that any one of six pieces of evidence could alone exonerate the president.
First, Cipollone argued, the transcript of the July 25 call between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Trump showed no link between the hold on the security assistance and the opening of any investigation; second, the Ukrainians, including Zelensky, have said there was no pressure from Trump and no suggestion of a quid pro quo; third, the Ukrainians were unaware of the hold on aid until a month after the Trump-Zelensky call.
Fourth, Cipollone said that despite a parade of witnesses, not a single person had offered first-hand evidence to suggest Trump ordered or intended the alleged scheme. Fifth, the aid ultimately flowed to Ukraine and Trump went on to meet with Zelensky; and sixth, Trump has been a stronger supporter of Ukraine that the previous administration.
“Each one of these six facts standing along is enough to sink the Democrats case. Combined, they establish what weve known since the beginning. The president did absolutely nothing wrong,” Cipollone said.
Cipollone accused the Democrats of presenting a selective set of facts to make their case. He spotlighted their presentation of evidence from the Trump-Zelensky call transcript on the issue of sharing the burden of supporting Ukraine with European allies. The impeachment managers made the case that Trump had no interest in the topic of burden sharing, but left out an entire section of the July 25 call transcript where Trump and Zelensky specifically discussed the for European allies, specifically France and Germany, to do more to help Ukraine.
The arguments by Trumps attorneys followed roughly along the outline presented by Cipollone. Throughout the presentation, Trumps attorneys substantiated their arguments with testimony from witnesses who appeared during the Democrat-led House impeachment inquiry. Most of the two hours consisted of arguments addressing the first article of impeachment, which alleges Trump abused his power. A brief segment addressed the second article, which alleges Trump obstructed Congress.
In a notable departure from the main points, Trump attorney Jay Sekulow laid out the argument for why the president is reasonably skeptical about the assessments of the U.S. intelligence community. Sekulow referenced two recent orders of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court which found that the FBIs applications to surveil a Trump-campaign adviser included significant lies and omissions.
During the House impeachment inquiry, Democrats used Trumps concern about Ukraines interference in tRead More – Source