On the second full say of the impeachment trial of President Trump, the House impeachment managers, led by Adam Schiff, began to build their case against the president.
House Democrats launched into lengthy arguments that basically recapped the testimonies and information provided in the House phase, however presented in a timeline narrative, which connected many of the dots, and Democrats feel showed irrefutable evidence of the president’s guilt. Schiff even went so far as to say that removing Trump from office was necessary, because the integrity of the 2020 election could not be “assured.”
Constitutional scholar Alan Dershowitz, who will speak against impeachment, is expected to argue before the Senate that removing a president is a fundamentally undemocratic remedy that requires “criminal-like” conduct — a standard he will argue is not met by Democrats’ two articles of impeachment, which do not allege any federal crimes.
Trump’s lawyers sat by, waiting their turn, as the president blasted the proceedings from afar, jokingly threatening to face off with the Democrats by coming to “sit right in the front row and stare at their corrupt faces.”
Most senators sat at their desks throughout the day, as the rules stipulated, though some stretched their legs, standing behind the desks or against the back wall of the chamber, passing the time. Visitors watched from the galleries, one briefly interrupting in protest who was removed.
Lindsey Graham Offers Praise and a Harsh Rebuke
Senator Lindsey Graham — who at one point left the chamber for more than an hour — surprisingly congratulated Adam Schiff on his day’s performance. HuffPost reporter Ryan Reilly captured the exchange at the end of Wednesday’s proceedings, and tweeted photographs of the two men shaking hands outside of an elevator in the Capitol building.
Reilly reported that Graham told Schiff, “Good job,” adding, “Very well spoken.” Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is also seen in the photos, smiling as Graham and Schiff interacted. The same exchange was reported by NBC News journalist Frank Thorp.
However, that brief exchange did not stop Graham from laying into the process, railing against what he called a Democratic “crusade” against President Donald Trump, during an impeachment press conference following Wednesday’s proceedings. He also rejected allegations that he is taking part in a Republican “cover-up” to protect the president.
Graham reacted angrily to Democratic Congressman Jerry Nadler’s assertion, made during day 2 of the Senate impeachment trial, that “a lot of senators [are] voting for a cover-up, voting to deny witnesses.” Graham insisted he was exposing Democratic “hatred” of Trump rather than engaging in a cover-up by refusing to allow witnesses in the trial.
“To my Democratic colleagues, you can say what you want about me, but I’m covering up nothing,” said Graham. “I’m exposing your hatred of this president, to the point that you would destroy the institution. Nobody would be saying this about a Democratic president if a Republican house had done this.”
The senator suggested that Democrats were on a reckless mission that aims to “destroy” Trump. The president has made frequent comments about his impeachment, which he has dismissed as a “witch hunt,” but Graham urged him to ignore Democrats during the trial.
Once an ardent adversary of the president shortly after Trump took office, Graham declared himself “all in” for the president. He has consistently defended Trump’s conduct in the White House since then.
The House managers resume making their case today at 1:00PM. They will presumably take all the time allotted to them, and continue through Friday, allowing the President’s lawyers to start presenting their defense on Saturday.