Republican senators may have taken an oath to be impartial jurors in Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial, but they sure aren’t acting like it.
MSNBC‘s Garrett Haake reported on Thursday night that a handful of GOP senators met privately with Trump’s defense team to “discuss legal strategy” ahead of Friday’s presentation.
“Senators Graham, Cruz and Lee met with the Trump defense team for quite a while after the arguments had wrapped up today to discuss legal strategy for tomorrow,” Haake reported.
“They’re working hand in glove – the Trump defense team and some of his most closely aligned senators – to come up with an argument that will allow their fellow Republicans, enough of them anyway, to vote to acquit,” he added.
“Senators Graham, Cruz and Lee met with the Trump defense team for quite a while after the arguments had wrapped up today to discuss legal strategy for tomorrow,” MSNBC’s Garrett Haake reported. pic.twitter.com/XcNwWOfb3X
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) February 12, 2021
Just another way in which this is not like a normal trial. Senators Graham, Cruz and Lee met with the Trump defense team for quite a while after the arguments had wrapped up today to discuss legal strategy for tomorrow. Sen. Cruz came out afterwards and told reporters – I mean, this is not something they’re hiding. Again, they’re working hand in glove, the Trump defense team and some of his most closely aligned senators, to come up with an argument that will allow their fellow Republicans – enough of them anyway – to vote to acquit. So expect to hear again a lot tomorrow about constitutionality. Expect to hear these Trump defense attorneys argue that the managers didn’t clear this high bar that they believe there is to prove incitement. And if they’re listening to their fellow colleagues, the one thing that these Trump defense attorneys are going to have to address, because Republican senators are asking about it, and this could be an Achilles heel for the president, is what did the president know and what was he doing when the attack took place? The testimony and the presentation around that question today was very powerful to a number of these Republican senators just as it was, by the way, in the House impeachment vote.
The impeachment managers made a strong case
The road to a conviction was always going to be long, but the fact that GOP lawmakers are meeting behind the scenes with Trump’s defense team shows just how effective the impeachment managers were this week.
Not to mention: Trump’s attorneys showed up at the trial and immediately face planted on the Senate floor, sending the ex-president into a rage as he watched from Mar-a-Lago.
While the odds are low that 17 GOP senators will put country over Trump, it’s clear that at least some Republicans in the chamber were moved by the case made by the impeachment managers.
That’s why Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Mike Lee (R-UT) were huddling with Donald Trump’s defense team to craft a legal strategy that would limit the number of Republicans who vote to convict.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.