Donald Trump’s lawyers had three hurdles to leap. They cleared them all
After voting to call witnesses in the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump, US senators strike a deal to instead admit a statement from Jaime Herrera Beutler into the record, paving the way for closing arguments.
The Trump legal team’s defence was far from exhaustive: after being given 16 hours to make their case they spoke for just three. Their presentation included easily disproven inaccuracies – such as the false claim that a leader of far-left protest movement Antifa was arrested for participating in the riot.
Trump’s lawyers were not after legal brilliance or persuading their point of view to be impartial adjudicators. Impeachment is an explicitly democratic procedure, with all its legalistic style, and this was a political demonstration addressing a conservative audience.
In claiming that Trump’s staff “legally eviscerated” the Democrats, Republican Senator Ron Johnson may have been overwhelmed. A centrist Republican senator who can vote to prosecute Trump, Lisa Murkowski, however, thanked his attorneys for putting on a “much stronger presentation” than the first day of the trial.
By holding most Republican senators in the “not guilty” column, Trump’s attorneys just wanted to lock in this gain. What they wanted to do, they did.