The Senate impeachment trial of President Trump adjourned on Saturday and everyone returns today. To review, Trump lawyers started laying out their defense during a brief Saturday session.
White House counsel Pat Cipollone argued that the President did absolutely nothing wrong. He said Democrats did not make a case for removing Trump from office. He also accused Democrats of trying to interfere in this year's presidential election.
Cipollone called it the most "massive interference in an election in American history." Trump attorney Jay Sekulow said there is "overwhelming evidence" that the President did nothing wrong.
Deputy White House counsel Patrick Philbin insisted that the President was denied "due process" in the House impeachment inquiry. Deputy White House counsel Michael Purpura argued that the Democrats' case is entirely unfounded. Purpura also insisted that Trump was acting in the U.S. national interest "at all times."
As you’ll recall, Trump was impeached by the House last month for abusing his power and obstruction of Congress in the investigation of the Ukraine scandal. Democrats said Trump illegally withheld vital U.S. military aid to Ukraine while pressuring Ukraine to investigate Democrats. Purpura stressed that Trump was legitimately concerned about corruption in Ukraine and was angry that U.S. allies were not doing their fair share to help Ukraine.
Complicating matters as the Senators and House Managers return to chambers? A recording produced by Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani (the President’s personal attorney). While President Trump has outwardly denied having anything to do with the firing of ousted Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch (even though transcripts show otherwise), it seems he wanted to fire her nearly a year before she was formally recalled (in April 2019). A recording obtained by ABC News captures Trump discussing it at a private dinner – attended by Parnas – in April 2018 at the Trump International Hotel. You’ll recall that the President has also denied knowing Parnas in any real capacity. In it, Trump is heard saying, "Take her out."