Speaking to reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Trump dismissed the importance of the impeachment trial as Democrats cried foul over the proposed rules for the proceedings.
“That whole thing is a hoax,” Trump said. “It goes nowhere because nothing happened. The only thing we’ve done is a great job.”
During his speech at the forum this morning, Trump ignored impeachment and instead focused on taking credit for the growth of the US economy.
“America is thriving; America is flourishing, and, yes, America is winning again like never before,” Trump said.
Former Democratic senator Claire McCaskill, who served in the Senate for 12 years before she lost her reelection race in 2018, predicted Susan Collins would be the only Republican senator to split with her party on allowing new witnesses to testify during Trump’s impeachment trial.
Democrats need to pick off at least four Republican senators to get changes to the proposed rules approved, so Collins’ potential vote would not be enought to move the needle.
Collins faces a difficult reelection race later this year in her home state of Maine.
Impeachment managers raise ethical concerns about Trump’s lawyer
The House impeachment managers have issued another statement warning of potential ethical concerns about White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who will represent Trump during the Senate trial.
“In preparation for the trial of Donald J. Trump before the Senate, we write to notify you that evidence received by the House of Representatives during its impeachment inquiry indicates that you are a material witness to the charges in both Articles of Impeachment for which President Trump now faces trial,” said the managers, who are Adam Schiff, Jerrold Nadler, Zoe Lofgren, Hakeem Jeffries, Val Demings, Jason Crow and Sylvia Garcia.
“You must disclose all facts and information as to which you have first-hand knowledge that will be at issue in connection with evidence you present or arguments you make in your role as the President’s legal advocate so that the Senate and Chief Justice can be apprised of any potential ethical issues, conflicts, or biases.”
In a longer letter explaining their concerns, the managers cited this Wall Street Journal story from November, which said that John Eisenberg, the general counsel for the National Security Council, told Cipollone about concerns regarding Trump’s July phone call with the Ukrainian president.
Pelosi calls McConnell’s impeachment trial a ‘sham proposal’
Echoing Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, House speaker Nancy Pelosi has issued a statement slamming Mitch McConnell’s resolution outlining rules for Trump’s impeachment trial as a “sham proposal.”
“Leader McConnell’s process is deliberately designed to hide the truth from the Senate and from the American people, because he knows that the President’s wrongdoing is indefensible and demands removal,” Pelosi said in the statement.
“No jury would be asked to operate on McConnell’s absurdly compressed schedule, and it is obvious that no Senator who votes for it is intending to truly weigh the damning evidence of the President’s attacks on our Constitution. …
“Duty, honor and country are at stake. Every Senator who supports this sham process must be held accountable to the American people.”
House impeachment managers slam trial as ‘White House-driven and rigged process’
In response to the rules proposed by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell for the impeachment trial, the House impeachment managers issued a statement slamming the resolution as an unfair attempt to acquit the president without scrutiny.
“A White House-driven and rigged process, with a truncated schedule designed to go late into the night and further conceal the President’s misconduct, is not what the American people expect or deserve,” said the managers, who are Adam Schiff, Jerrold Nadler, Zoe Lofgren, Hakeem Jeffries, Val Demings, Jason Crow and Sylvia Garcia.
The managers also dismissed arguments from McConnell that the proposed rules mirrored those of Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial in 1999.
“In the Clinton case, the President provided all of the documents — more than 90,000 pages of them — before the trial took place. McConnell’s resolution rejects that basic necessity,” the statement read.
“And in the Clinton case, all of the witnesses had testified before the Senate trial began, and the only issue was whether they would be re-called to testify once more. The substance of what they would say was already known. Here, McConnell is trying to prevent the witnesses from ever testifying, and the public from ever finding out what they have to say.”
Democrats prepare to argue against proposed impeachment trial rules
Good morning, live blog readers!
It has been more than a month since the House voted to impeach Donald Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, and the matter is finally advancing to a Senate debate over the rules of a trial to determine whether he should be removed from office.
The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, released his proposed rules for the trial last night, and the resolution immediately sparked outrage from Democrats, who argued the president’s allies were trying to rush to an acquittal.
According to the rules, the White House counsel and House impeachment managers will each be allowed 24 hours over two days each to make opening arguments. Those opening arguments will be followed by 16 hours of questioning and a four-hour debate before the ultimate vote on whether to remove Trump from office.
The Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, called the proposal a “national disgrace,” as many other Democrats complained that the timetable could force arguments to stretch into the early hours of the morning and thus minimize public attention on the proceedings.
But with Republicans holding the majority of Senate seats, Democrats will need to convince some of their colleagues across the aisle to push back against the proposal in order to secure changes. They will get the chance to do so today at 1pm ET, when the trial will pick up again and the Senate will get the chance to debate the resolution.
Here’s what else the blog is keeping its eye on:
- Trump is attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he delivered a speech early this morning.
- Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg are campaigning in Iowa today, with less than two weeks to go until the caucuses.
- Tulsi Gabbard is campaigning in New Hampshire.
The blog will have more coming up, so stay tuned.