Senators' questions in President Trump's impeachment trial resume today. During the first-of-two days of questioning, Trump lawyers argued that House Democrats want to overturn the results of the 2016 election and had at least one interesting theory about why the President can’t be impeached for his conduct, but more on that in a minute. The House managers did plenty of pushing back. Here’s a rundown of the day’s highlights:
- Congressman Adam Schiff said Trump tried to cheat to help him win re-election. The California Democrat defended the House impeachment and called Trump a threat to the integrity of U.S. elections and national security. He said a president cannot "solicit foreign interference" to aid his re-election.
- White House counsel Pat Cipollone argued that Democrats did not meet the constitutional standard for the impeachment of a president.
- Cipollone also warned that the impeachment trial could "drag on for months" if the Senate starts calling witnesses, saying the Senate could become "paralyzed."
- Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow noted that 17 witnesses testified in House impeachment hearings and said Democrats now want "more and compared the proceedings in the Senate to that of the Democrats acting “like this is some municipal traffic court proceeding.”
- Meanwhile, Dems are pushing hard for testimony from former National Security Adviser John Bolton and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
- If that happens, Sekulow said his side will demand a list of witnesses too. That would include former VP Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
- Schiff argued that Republicans are the ones potentially pushing the length of the trial by threatening to call numerous witnesses who are not relevant to the case against the President.
- Florida Democrat Val Demings called Sekulow’s threats a diversion. She also referred to it as "smoke-and-mirrors."
Meantime, Trump attorney Alan Dershowitz warned about a "recurring weaponization of impeachment" in future years. But that’s not all. When it comes to the legality of President Trump’s alleged behavior, Dershowitz said that all that’s needed is a presidential heart being in the right place.
"If a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest,” he offered. “That cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.” So, in theory, a president could kill someone, if it means they’d get re-elected. "For it to be impeachable you would have to discern that he or she made a decision solely ... on the corrupt motives," Dershowitz added. "And it cannot be a corrupt motive if you have a mixed motive."