“The President was pleased with the presentation. He thought they did an excellent job with rebuttal on the facts,” according to sources who spoke to the president after his defense team presented their case Saturday.
Trump, who has previously said he wanted to hear from Hunter Biden and Rep. Adam Schiff at his trial, now favors avoiding calling witnesses completely that could drag the trial on for much longer.
“Because of the effective oral arguments, he sees this as a mandate to end the impeachment process expeditiously,” sources familiar with Trump’s thinking said.
After three days of Democrats making their case on why Trump should be impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, Trump’s legal team got their chance Saturday to address senators. The offered a swift 2-hour takedown of the Democrats’ case and will present more when the Senate resumes on Monday at 1 pm.
While the White House team “feels like everything went really well,” the trick will be “to carry the momentum into Monday and not have any missteps on the Sunday shows,” sources familiar with Trump’s thinking said.
Trump’s lawyers went on offense Saturday, accusing Democrats of “massive” voter inference by trying to remove the president from office and the 2020 ballot just months before voters could decide for themselves.
Trump was happy his lawyers were “calling out” the Democratic managers for cherry-picking facts and videos in their nearly 24-hour presentation. He was “very, very encouraged” to hear his lawyers deliver factual rebuttals to the presentations made by Schiff, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and other House managers.
The president was especially impressed with deputy counsel Mike Purpura who did “an incredible job,” sources told Fox News.
At the heart of the case is Trump’s effort to convince Ukraine to launch investigations of Democrats, while his administration withheld military aid. Trump denies wrongdoing, while Democrats allege he abused the power of his office and obstructed Congress by blocking their investigation.
Purpura kicked off his speech Saturday by playing video of Schiff reading a “fake” transcript of Trump’s July 25 phone call with the Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky. He also called out Democrats for omitting favorable witness testimony from their presentation.
Purpura tackled the foundation of the Democrats’ case head on. He argued there can be no quid-pro-quo because Trump never tied security assistance to investigations in the phone call.
He told senators Zelensky didn’t feel pressure to investigate the Bidens and the Ukrainian leaders didn’t even know there was a pause on aid until after the call in August. No witnesses testified they heard Trump personally link nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine or a White House meeting to the investigations of Democrats, he said.
“The president did absolutely nothing wrong,” Purpura said.
Another vote on witnesses is expected next week after Trump’s defense team finishes its arguments and senators complete 16 hours of questioning to both sides.
Democrats will need the support of four GOP senators to allow new documents and witnesses into evidence. Meanwhile, GOP leaders are actively working to avoid defections in their ranks, so the trial can conclude.