Trump Says His Lawyers Did ‘Really Good’ in Opening Day of Impeachment Trial

January 22, 2020 Updated: January 22, 2020
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President Donald Trump said his lawyers did “really good” in the opening day of the Senate impeachment trial.

Trump, in Davos for the World Economic Forum, said he watched some of the trial from Switzerland, which is six hours ahead of U.S. eastern time.

“I did get to see some of it. It’s a hoax. It’s a total hoax,” Trump told CNBC on the sidelines of the forum.

“I think the team was really good. The facts are all on our side.”

White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow led arguments on Tuesday into early Wednesday, urging the Senate to adopt a resolution introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that laid out the initial trial rules, and attacking various aspects of arguments by House Democrats.

The Republican president noted that GOP members stuck together in the House, with none voting to impeach him last month, and Senate Republicans did the same on Tuesday, repeatedly voting together against amendments offered by Democrats until Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) broke with her party to vote for the tenth and last one, which was still blocked.

“The Republican party has never been this unified. You saw that. A hundred and 95 to nothing. I guess twice. In fact we got three Democrats voting for us. That was with the House,” Trump said.

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White House counsel Pat Cipollone speaks in favor of of Senate Resolution 483, the organizing resolution for the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 21, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)

Four Democrats broke with their party in the House. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) voted “present” on both articles of impeachment and Reps. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Jeff Van Drew (now R-N.J.), and Jared Golden (D-Maine) voted against one or both of the articles.

Trump said he feels like his July 2019 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which served as the trigger for the impeachment inquiry, was “perfect.”

“All you have to do is read the transcript. Read—if you take a look at the transcript—and it’s really two transcripts. It’s—you know, I had a first call which was perfect, and I had a second call which was perfect. You notice they don’t mention the calls, though. They never mention the calls. They talk about everything but the calls,” Trump told CNBC.

“All they have to do is read the transcripts. I put it out all the time. The other thing is speak to the president of Ukraine. He’s been great, I have to tell you. And his foreign minister’s been great.”

Ukraine officials have repeatedly said Trump did not pressure them to open an investigation into former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Biden’s son Hunter Biden, who have been accused of corrupt activities in Ukraine. Trump noted in the call that the elder Biden spoke in 2018 of pressuring Ukraine in 2016 to oust a prosecutor, Viktor Shokin.

The prosecutor at that time was probing Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian company that employed Hunter Biden from 2014 to 2019.

The Bidens have also said they did nothing wrong. If witnesses are called in the impeachment trial, some Republicans want Hunter Biden called to testify.

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