3 GOP senators met with Trump's lawyers the day before their planned impeachment defense presentation
- Trump’s legal team is set to present their defense in the Senate impeachment trial on Friday.
- But on Thursday, Sens. Cruz, Graham, and Lee, who will vote in the trial, met with Trump’s lawyers.
- Cruz and and one of the lawyers gave conflicting accounts about the substance of the discussion.
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Three Republican senators met with Donald Trump’s impeachment lawyers Thursday, a day before they will present his impeachment defense.
The senators — Ted Cruz of Texas, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Mike Lee of Utah — will take part in the vote on whether to convict Trump in his Senate impeachment trial.
The meeting took place in the US Capitol in a room where the Trump team was preparing their defense, CNN reported.
When asked about meeting with each other, the lawyers and at least one senator gave conflicting accounts about the substance of the discussion.
David Schoen, one of Trump’s attorneys, said the senators were trying to ensure they were “familiar with procedure,” CNN reported. However, Cruz said they were discussing the legal team’s arguments and providing feedback.
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“We were discussing their strategy for tomorrow, and we were sharing our thoughts, in terms of where the argument was and where to go,” Cruz told reporters Thursday.
He also said that while he thinks the verdict is already clear and that Trump will be acquitted, he wanted to make sure the former president had the best possible defense.
“I think it is always good for the trial to be conducted with the best arguments possible, and to the extent that I had any thoughts or insight on how to do so, I certainly wanted to share,” Cruz said.
Trump’s legal team is set to offer their defense argument Friday, after days of presentations by the House impeachment managers. The presentations, which aimed to prove Trump was responsible for inciting the insurrection, concluded Thursday.
On Tuesday, Bruce Castor Jr., one of Trump’s lawyers, received a wave of criticism from figures on both sides of the political aisle after delivering an opening statement that many felt was rambling.
The defense argued that the trial itself was unconstitutional because Trump is no longer in office and that Trump was deprived of due process. They also argued that the Senate was not the right jurisdiction for the case.
Graham, one of the senators that met with Trump’s team, expressed doubt over the defense’s initial presentation.
“I think the President’s defense was okay. I mean, it took a long time to get to where I think the meat of the question is,” Graham told reporters Wednesday, adding that the defense team was “accusing every Democrat of just hating Trump.”
He was also critical of the case made by impeachment managers, as was Cruz. Both senators said the House managers did not successfully show Trump incited insurrection, just that the attack itself was horrific, which Cruz said was already “undisputed.”
While the Senate effectively acts as a jury during an impeachment trial, Cruz, Graham, and Lee have all indicated they plan to vote for acquittal.
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