Trump Defense Will Call Impeachment Witnesses If Democrats Do, Attorney Says

February 12, 2021 Updated: February 13, 2021

Attorneys representing former President Donald Trump will call on witnesses to testify at the Senate trial only in the event the Democrat impeachment managers do, according to Trump defense attorney Bruce Castor.

Asked if the decision to call on witnesses rests on how the impeachment managers decide to proceed and if the Trump team would respond by calling witnesses of its own, Castor said “yes.”

Castor made the remarks on the fourth day of the impeachment trial, during which the defense attorneys presented their case and answered questions from senators. A decision on witnesses is to follow, although it is largely expected that neither side will call on anyone to testify. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said he doesn’t expect any witnesses and noted that neither side made a motion in that regard on Friday.

“That’s not gonna happen. I think this is concluded at this point. The rules don’t permit any further proceedings. And nobody’s moved to ask for further proceedings.”

Trump’s team had already shot down a request for the president to testify.

The two sides are expected to deliver closing arguments on Saturday. Castor said Trump’s team would take about an hour of the two hours allotted to each side.

“The senators sort of gave me the feeling that they want it to be concise,” Castor said.

House Democrats, joined by 10 Republicans, approved an impeachment article against Trump last night alleging that the president incited an insurrection by whipping up the mob which attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6. Over the course of two days, the impeachment managers wove a narrative alleging that Trump intentionally programmed a part of his followers over the course of several years to react violently in the event he lost the election. The alleged plot culminated in Trump directing the mob to attack the Capitol, the Democrats claimed.

Trump’s attorneys argued that the allegations against the president fall apart when examined against the plain text of his speech to supporters on Jan. 6, during which he used common political terms like “fight” in relation to his team’s legal election challenges and the need for Republican lawmakers to take a tough stand during the counting of the Electoral College votes the same day.

With both sides having presented their evidence, no senator has publicly spoken about changing their mind about how they will vote on the ultimate question of whether Trump should be convicted. Forty-four Republicans had already voted against proceeding with the trial, which will likely be a close indicator of the ultimate vote on conviction. The Democrats need to convince at least 17 of the 50 Republicans to secure a conviction.

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