UPDATED 6:54 AM PT — Tuesday, January 29, 2020
President Trump’s impeachment team set up their final defense in the impeachment trial. The defense team wrapped up their opening arguments Tuesday, giving their last uninterrupted remarks against the pair of articles. They emphasized the articles don’t hold merit and don’t match what the framers of the Constitution envisioned.
“And what we see in the House managers charges and their definition of abuse of power is exactly antithetical to the framers approach because their very premise for their abuse of power charge is that it is entirely based on subjective motive, not object of standards, not predefined offenses,” explained White House deputy counsel Patrick Philbin.
The defense team also stressed the political gravity of removing the president under these charges, pointing out that it would set a “dangerous” precedent. They said it would overturn the last election as well as interfere with the upcoming 2020 election.
“What they are asking you to do is to throw out a successful president on the eve of an election with no basis and in violation of the Constitution,” said White House counsel Pat Cipollone. “It would dangerously change our country and weaken, weaken forever, all of our democratic institutions.”
The president’s team also tackled concerns coming from former National Security Advisor John Bolton. In his new book, Bolton alleges President Trump explicitly told him he would withdraw aid from Ukraine if they didn’t investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. The team responded to the allegations by quoting the president himself who said the conversation never took place. Attorney Jay Sekulow read the follow response:
“I never told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens. In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book.”
Officials are expected to vote Friday on whether to call witnesses or produce more documents.