Alex WoodwardFri, 12 February 2021, 1:15 am
A group of Republican senators met privately with Donald Trump‘s legal team representing the former president in his impeachment trial to discuss “strategy” ahead of the defence argument on Friday.
Senators have sworn an oath to “do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws” during the impeachment trial.
Following Thursday’s closing arguments from House impeachment managers acting as prosecutors in the trial, Trump attorney David Schoen told reporters that his meeting with Republicans concerned “procedure” for Friday’s hearing.
Watch: Defense to argue Trump not tied to riot violence 0:01 2:15 Defense to argue Trump not tied to riot violence – Showing the
Asked by CNN’s Manu Raju whether he believed it was appropriate to meet with jurors, Mr Schoen said: “I think that’s the practice of impeachment. There’s nothing about this thing that has any semblance of due process whatsoever.”
Attorneys Schoen, Bruce Castor, Michael van der Veen and William Brennan are expected to address the Senate on Friday. The defence could close its presentation within the day, according to reports.
Only six GOP senators broke from the party to vote alongside Democrats to agree to the constitutionality of the trial, which would convict a president who is no longer in office. The former president was impeached in the House of Representatives on 13 January for inciting the riot at the Capitol a week earlier.
Over two days of arguments in the Senate this week, impeachment managers outlined the former president’s history of encouraging violence, attempts to undermine the results of the 2020 presidential election with a “big lie” of voter fraud that compelled rioters to the Capitol, and failure to call off the attack as his supporters explicitly said they launched the assault at his invitation.
Defence attorneys are expected to re-litigate the constitutionality of the trial and introduce videos of Black Lives Matter demonstrations they will attempt to connect to Democratic lawmakers.