Former President Donald Trump’s attorneys will conclude their arguments for why the former president shouldn’t be convicted in an impeachment trial on Friday, according to one of his senior advisers.
“We will finish up our presentation tomorrow,” Feb. 12, said adviser Jason Miller on Twitter, responding to a CNN article that claims it would wrap up sooner.
“I would not trust another word otherwise in this [CNN] story,” he remarked about the claims in the report. “Chock full of fake news, and particularly sloppy.”
House impeachment managers, led by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), are slated to wrap up their arguments on Thursday. The trial itself, meanwhile, could be concluded as soon as this weekend.
Trump is widely expected to be acquitted during the trial, coming weeks after House Democrats and 10 Republicans voted to impeach him for allegedly inciting the violence at the Capitol building on Jan. 6. A conviction would require 67 votes, meaning that 17 GOP senators would have to join Democrats.
Even though Trump’s acquittal is likely, his lawyers David Schoen and Bruce Castor have received criticism from Republicans—including some senators—for their defense and arguments. Among them was Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who voted Tuesday along with five other Republican senators to go ahead with the trial.
“If anyone disagrees with my vote and would like an explanation, I ask them to listen to the arguments presented by the House Managers and former President Trump’s lawyers,” Cassidy said in a statement. “The House managers had much stronger constitutional arguments. The president’s team did not.”
And any Republican lawmaker who votes to impeach Trump—still considered by many to be the most popular figure in the party—is sure to face blowback during their respective upcoming elections. Several Republican senators and House representatives, including Cassidy and fellow Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), have already been censured for voting with Democrats.
On Tuesday, Schoen defended his team’s performance and told Fox News that they would be “very well prepared” in their upcoming arguments.
“So, I’m sure they will be very well prepared in the future and do a great job in the case,” Schoen said.
Schoen’s lawyers have argued that because Trump is not president any longer, he cannot be impeached. They also said in pre-trial briefs that his speech to protesters on Jan. 6 was protected under the First Amendment.
House Democrats disagreed and asserted Trump can be convicted while saying he should be able to hold office in the future.
“Conduct that would be a high crime and misdemeanor in your first year as president, in your second year as president, in your third year as president, and for the vast majority of your fourth year as president, you can suddenly do in your last few weeks in office without facing any constitutional accountability at all. This would create a brand new January exception to the Constitution of the United States of America,” Raskin said Tuesday.