(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump’s lawyers began presenting their defense in his Senate impeachment trial Saturday, the beginning of as many as 24 hours of argument before senators will decide whether to call for new witnesses and documents.
Here are the latest developments:
Trump Says He’s Being Treated ‘Unfairly’ (1:45 p.m.)
Trump tweeted after Saturday’s two-hour argument by his lawyers to the Senate that he’s being treated unfairly by the “totally partisan Impeachment Hoax.“
He wrote: “Any fair minded person watching the Senate trial today would be able to see how unfairly I have been treated and that this is indeed the totally partisan Impeachment Hoax that EVERYBODY, including the Democrats, truly knows it is. This should never be allowed to happen again!”
Schumer Says Defense Shows Need for Witnesses (1:02 p.m.)
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Trump’s defense lawyers “made a compelling case for more witnesses and documents.”
“They kept saying there were no eyewitness accounts,“ Schumer told reporters after Saturday’s hearing. “But there are people who do know.” He said those include acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who are among the witnesses Democrats want to call.
Lead House manager Adam Schiff said the president’s defense team didn’t contest the facts about Trump’s pressure on Ukraine.
Schiff disputed the defense lawyers’ argument that Trump was concerned about getting European nations to take on more of the burden of helping Ukraine.
If that was the case, Trump should have said “call Angela,” meaning German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Schiff said. “Instead it was call Rudy Giuliani,” Trump’s personal lawyer, he said. -- Laura Litvan, Billy House
Trump Team Concludes Opening Arguments (12:03 p.m.)
Trump’s defense team concluded its opening arguments in the Senate impeachment trial, giving an outline of the fuller case they’ll be presenting next week when the proceedings resume.White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said House Democrats failed to prove their case that the president deserves to be removed from office and sought to provide a point-by-point rebuttal over about two hours. He said Democrats were attempting to overturn the last election and tear up the ballots for the next one.
The case will resume when the Senate convenes at 1 p.m. on Monday. -- Laura Litvan, Steven T. Dennis
Ukraine Didn’t Know of Aid Delay, Trump Team Says (11:30 a.m.)
Trump’s lawyers leaned on questions of timing in his defense against the central Democratic assertion that he held up military aid to Ukraine to pressure its president to investigate Joe Biden and the Democrats.
Deputy White House Counsel Michael Purpura argued that the Ukrainians didn’t know the aid was being withheld until well after the July 25 call between Trump and President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. He said the Ukrainians never raised any concerns about the aid with U.S. officials until late August or early September, after the delay was publicly reported.
However, the Ukrainian embassy in Washington learned in late July that the U.S. had frozen military aid, Bloomberg News has reported. House Democrats also have cited a New York Times story that a Ukrainian deputy foreign minister read a diplomatic cable in July saying that the Trump administration had frozen the aid.
Trump’s attorneys also underscored repeated assertions by Trump that there was no “quid pro quo” demanded of Ukraine. However, Trump began saying that only after officials started going public with concerns about the aid holdup and as the whistle-blower who set off the probe into the Ukraine issue was emerging. -- Chris Strohm
Republicans React to ‘On a Pike’ Comment (11:14 a.m.)
Key Republican moderate Lisa Murkowski said Saturday she didn’t like House manager Adam Schiff’s reference to a CBS story saying a group of Senate Republicans were warned their heads would be “on a pike” if they didn’t back Trump, though it won’t affect her votes in the trial.
“No,” she said when asked if her displeasure over the comment would affect her views on whether to seek new witnesses or documents.
GOP Senator Lindsey Graham, meanwhile, cut Schiff some slack.
“I’ve been there, it’s easy to get a little bit heated. But generally speaking, I thought they did a very good job of presenting their case,” Graham said. “I thought they were professional, very, very, very thorough to the point of being too thorough.”
But Senator Roy Blunt, a member of the GOP leadership, said Schiff’s remark was “foolish.”
Blunt said he didn’t know if it would be a turning point in the trial, but he added, “we’d all figured out we were just sitting there so they could talk to whoever was watching television at the time.” -- Steven T. Dennis
Trump Demanded No Quid Pro Quo, Lawyer Says (10:52 a.m.)
White House Counsel Pat Cipollone presented a point-by-point defense of Trump and his July 25 call with Ukraine‘s president.
Trump didn’t set any conditions for financial aid or a meeting between the two, and financial aid wasn’t even mentioned on the call, said Cipollone.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and other Ukrainian officials repeatedly said Trump demanded no quid pro quo and put no pressure on them to investigate anything, he said. Ukrainian officials didn’t even know the U.S. aid had been put on hold until late August, more than a month after the call, the White House counsel said.
Cipollone said “not a single witness” testified that Trump said there was any connection between investigations by Ukraine and U.S. security aid to that country. The U.S. aid was released on Sept. 11 and Trump met with Zelenskiy on Sept. 25 without any announcement of investigations by Ukraine, he said.
“Finally, the Democrats’ blind drive to impeach the president does not and cannot change the fact that is attested to by the Democrats’ own witnesses that President Trump has been a better friend, and a stronger supporter of, Ukraine than his predecessor,” Barack Obama, Cipollone said. -- Steven T. Dennis, Billy House
Trump Did ‘Nothing Wrong,’ His Lawyer Says (10:14 a.m.)
White House Counsel Pat Cipollone began Trump’s defense by criticizing the House managers’ case for removing the president from office.
“We don’t believe that they have come anywhere close to meeting their burden for what they are asking you to do,” Cipollone told the Senate. “You will find that the president did absolutely nothing wrong.”
Democrats are not only asking the Senate to remove Trump from office, he said, “they’re asking you to remove President Trump from the ballot” in November’s election.
“They’re asking you to do it with no evidence,“ he added. -- Laura Litvan, Steven T. Dennis
Trump Team Begins Defense at Senate Trial (10:06 a.m.)
Trump’s team opened his defense Saturday with what lawyer Jay Sekulow previously said will be about three hours of “coming attractions” for the full presentation planned for next week.
The president’s lawyers plan to save most of their case for Monday, a person on the president’s legal team said, including arguments by celebrity lawyer and Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz. Former independent counsel Kenneth Starr also plans to argue on behalf of the president. -- Laura Litvan, Steven T. Dennis
Trump Blasts Democrats as Defense to Begin (9:40 a.m.)
Trump criticized House and Senate Democrats “& the entire Radical Left” on Twitter as his lawyers prepared to open the case for his defense.
“Our case against lyin’, cheatin’, liddle’ Adam “Shifty” Schiff, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer, Nervous Nancy Pelosi, their leader, dumb as a rock AOC, & the entire Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrat Party, starts today at 10:00 A.M. on @FoxNews, @OANN or Fake News @CNN or Fake News MSDNC!” he wrote. -- Billy House
House Delivers Evidence Record to Senate (9:40 a.m.)
House managers transported a 28,578-page trial record to the Senate Saturday that collects together all the evidence that served as the foundation of their impeachment case against Trump.
The seven House Democrats who presented the impeachment arguments made a ceremonial procession to the Senate chamber to deliver the file on carts to the secretary of the Senate as the permanent record of the investigation and their case.
It also gave Democrats another chance to draw attention to their case before Trump’s defense lawyers take center stage in the trial to present their arguments. -- Billy House
Schiff Seeks to Pre-Empt Trump Defense (6 a.m.)
Schiff closed the House Democrats’ case Friday night by predicting that Trump’s defenders would talk about an unfair process, Joe Biden, the whistle-blower and corruption in Ukraine -- instead of responding to the impeachment charges against the president.
“If they couldn’t get Ukraine to smear the Bidens, they want to use this trial to do it instead,” Schiff said. “So let’s call Hunter Biden. Let’s smear the Bidens.”
Trump’s lawyers will get their first crack when the Senate convenes at 10 a.m. Saturday. Attorney Jay Sekulow said that “with three hours it’s probably going to be a bit of an overview” of the fuller case the defense will present when the trial resumes on Monday.
Just as the House managers did, the defense will have up to 24 hours over three days to make its case. “If we decide we need the full time we will take it,” Sekulow said.
Schiff predicted that Trump’s lawyers would say House Democrats “hate the president.” That argument is “another of the myriad forms of ‘please do not consider what the president did,’” the California Democrat said.
“I only hate what he’s done to this country. I grieve for what he’s done to this country,” Schiff said. -- Laura Litvan, Steven T. Dennis
Catch Up on Impeachment Coverage
Here is House Democrats’ web page containing documents related to the impeachment trial. House Democrats’ impeachment brief is here. Trump’s initial reply is here, and his lawyers’ trial brief is here.The House impeachment resolution is H.Res. 755. The Intelligence Committee Democrats’ impeachment report is here.Gordon Sondland’s transcript is here and here; Kurt Volker’s transcript is here and here. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch’s transcript is here and here; the transcript of Michael McKinley, former senior adviser to the secretary of State, is here. The transcript of David Holmes, a Foreign Service officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, is here.The transcript of William Taylor, the top U.S. envoy to Ukraine, is here and here. State Department official George Kent’s testimony is here and here. Testimony by Alexander Vindman can be found here, and the Fiona Hill transcript is here. Laura Cooper’s transcript is here; Christopher Anderson’s is here and Catherine Croft’s is here. Jennifer Williams’ transcript is here and Timothy Morrison’s is here. The Philip Reeker transcript is here. Mark Sandy’s is here.
--With assistance from Daniel Flatley, Billy House and Chris Strohm.
To contact the reporters on this story: Laura Litvan in Washington at email@example.com;Steven T. Dennis in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at email@example.com, Larry Liebert, Laurie Asséo
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