Trump Attorney Withdraws Request to Suspend Impeachment for Sabbath

February 8, 2021 Updated: February 8, 2021

One of the attorneys representing President Donald Trump in the impeachment trial withdrew his request to pause the trial from Friday night to Sunday morning in observance of Sabbath, according to a copy of a letter obtained by several reporters.

“I am advised that your response to my letter was to graciously accommodate my Sabbath observance and to set a schedule for the upcoming impeachment trial that meant suspending the trial for the Jewish Sabbath,” David Schoen, one of the three attorneys representing Trump, wrote.

“This meant causing you to lose Friday evening and all day Saturday that you previously intended to have for the trial. I very much appreciated your decision; but I remained concerned about the delay in the proceedings in a process that I recognize is important to bring to a conclusion for all involved and for the country.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) reached a deal with Senate Republicans on Feb. 8 on the framework for the trial.

Under the deal, there will be four hours of debate on Feb. 9 about whether the trial should be dismissed. Each side will then get 16 hours to present their cases starting at noon on Feb. 10, followed by four hours for senators to question both sides. Should witnesses or documents be subpoenaed, more time may be allotted. The impeachment managers and Trump’s defense team will get four hours for closing arguments.

The framework suggests the trial would go on for at least four days. With Schoen’s request withdrawn, and assuming no witnesses are called, the trial could now be complete by the end of the week.

Schoen wrote that he will not participate in the trial on Saturday, but the role he would have played will be carried out by the other attorneys “to the satisfaction of the defense team.”

Trump’s attorneys on Monday released a memorandum laying out their defense for the Senate trial. The argue that the Senate has no jurisdiction to try a former official, that the charge against the 45th president is deficient, that their client was deprived of due process and had his right to free speech violated by the article of impeachment.

In the 78-page trial memorandum, the attorneys posit that the Senate taking up the impeachment amounts to a bill of attainder, an act that the Constitution prohibits the legislature from taking because it would amount to inflicting punishment without a jury trial. The defense also contends that the “incitement” accusation is contradicted by the plain text of the transcript of the president’s Jan. 6 speech.

House Democrats, joined by 10 Republicans, voted on Jan. 13 to approve a single article of impeachment against Trump for “incitement of insurrection,” making him the first president to be impeached twice. When the Senate trial opens on Feb. 9, he will become the first former president to stand trial.

The trial memo, authored by Bruce Castor, David Schoen, and Michael van der Veen, states: “The Article of Impeachment presented by the House is unconstitutional for a variety of reasons, any of which alone would be grounds for immediate dismissal. Taken together, they demonstrate conclusively that indulging House Democrats’ hunger for this political theater is a danger to our Republic democracy and the rights that we hold dear.”

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