Attorney Steve Castor, the Republican Party’s lead counsel in House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearings, did his best to defend President Donald Trump — but many experts believe his best was far from sufficient.
Throughout his opening statement, Castor barely touched upon the core allegations that Trump abused his office in order to pressure a foreign government to launch an investigation into his top rival in the 2020 presidential election.
In fact, Castor spent most of his time attacking Democrats, whom he accused of making up wild charges to bring down the president.
One of Castor’s more unique arguments was criticizing Democrats for asking former Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen to testify earlier this year on the grounds that Cohen had already pleaded guilty to lying to Congress. What Castor didn’t mention, however, was that Cohen lied to Congress with the explicit intent of defending the president.
“Steve Castor’s attack on Michael Cohen’s credibility offers an exciting concept for the GOP defense of the president: ‘You can’t trust any of these witnesses, they worked for Donald Trump, obviously they are criminals,’” joked conservative David Frum on Twitter.
“Castor tries to dismiss Michael Cohen’s testimony by calling him a ‘disgraced felon,’” wrote Princeton historian Kevin Kruse. “Yeah, wow. Imagine who would ever use that guy as their personal attorney and fixer.”
Former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks, meanwhile, shot down Castor’s talking point that Democrats had uncovered no significant evidence against the president.
“Castor saying this is the thinnest factual record in any impeachment does not make it true,” she wrote. “In fact, the evidence is more than ample and clearly establishes 45 endangered US security by extorted Ukraine to benefit his 2020 reelection.”
And criminal defense attorney Teri Kanefield said that Castor’s defense of Trump was so bad that he would have been laughed out of court.
“Sometimes defense lawyers have no choice but to present lame defenses — but the unspoken rule is that the defense has to pass two legal tests: the Laugh Test and the Eye-roll Test,” she wrote. “Steve Castor’s defense fails both.”
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Acquitted Not Exonerated: Republicans Vote Trump Is ‘Not Guilty’ on Both Charges of High Crimes and Misdemeanors
One Purely Partisan Vote
President Donald Trump has been acquitted on both articles of impeachment, but the acquittals are not exonerations. The first article, abuse of power, was bipartisan in the votes to convict, with 52 Republicans choosing to vote “not guilty,” but one Republican, two independents, and 45 Democrats voted guilty.
The final votes were 52-48 on the charge of abuse of power and 53-47 on the charge of obstruction of Congress.
Trump will forever bear the mark of being the first president ever to receive a vote of guilty from a member of his own party on an article of impeachment.
The abuse of power vote to acquit, cast only by Republicans, was a purely partisan vote.
BREAKING: Chief Justice John Roberts: "It is therefore ordered and adjudged that the said Donald John Trump be, and he is hereby, acquitted of the charges in said articles." https://t.co/BwTA0PDtF3 pic.twitter.com/TdVQu3S1CY
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) February 5, 2020
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.
Lindsey Graham Faces Revolt From GOP Lawmakers Over Plan to Investigate Whistleblower: WaPo Reporter
Appearing on CNN’s “New Day” on Monday morning, Washington Post congressional reporter Rachael Bade claimed some Republican lawmakers are balking at a plan by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to go after the whistleblower whose report led to the impeachment trial of Donald Trump.
Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) served notice that the Republican-majority Senate Intelligence Committee will investigate the whistleblower, stating, “The Senate Intel Committee under Richard Burr has told us that they will call the whistleblower,” before adding, “I want to understand how all this crap started.”
According to Bade, that sentiment is not universal among Republican lawmakers.
“So Lindsey Graham was on TV yesterday talking about how Senate Republicans need to call in the whistle-blower even though this is over,” Bade told hosts John Berman and Alisyn Camerota. “Part of me wonders, was he trying to speak to an audience of one? I know the president is unhappy about being impeached, but Lindsey Graham has been talking about this for a couple of months now. they haven’t really done anything about it.”
“So part of me wonders, is this just him firing up the rhetoric the way the president wants him to? Fight fire with fire?” she suggested. “We’ll see if they actually make these moves to call in the whistleblower privately or bring in Obama officials. But from my understanding, there’s a lot of Republicans who just want to move on and they’re not interested in that. So we’ll see what Graham ends up doing.”
‘Impeaching Donald John Trump for High Crimes and Misdemeanors’: Watch as Senate Trial Opens With ‘Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Hear Ye’
Just after 12:00 noon Thursday, January 16, the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump opened. Many watched history in the making as newly-appointed House impeachment managers carrying a wooden box with the Articles of Impeachment walked into the Senate chamber.
NOW: House managers have arrived to present the articles of impeachment.
We are not able to shoot video here (except pool cam) but if you flip thru these maybe it will be like old timey vid. pic.twitter.com/S1d0LHhZ1Q
— Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews) January 16, 2020
The Sergeant at Arms bellowed, “‘Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Hear Ye.”
The president pro tempore, Senator Chuck Grassley, opened the session, and lead impeachment manager, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff read the Resolution declaring the managers and authorizing the conveyance of the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate.
“President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States,” Chairman Schiff read.
Chief Justice John Roberts will swear in all Senators this week, and next week the Senate will take up the Articles of Impeachment.
“Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye: all persons are commanded to keep silent on pain of imprisonment, while the House of Representatives is exhibiting to the Senate of the United States articles of impeachment against Donald John Trump, president.” https://t.co/2Eyoi17Rku pic.twitter.com/Fk6xiJ0QxN
— ABC News (@ABC) January 16, 2020
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