Trump Impeachment Trial Day Six: What To Watch For As The President's Defense Takes Over

After 24 hours of opening arguments from Democrats, President Donald Trump's defense team will take the Senate floor on Saturday to make the case for his acquittal.

It will be the first time the president's legal squad will present their arguments to the chamber since the trial began last week. The first five days of the proceedings involved the swearing-in of senators, the vote on a resolution for setting the trial rules and three days of opening statements from the House-appointed impeachment managers.

Now, it will be the Trump team's turn to take over the narrative. Based on its previous statements, expect its members to take aim at both the articles of impeachment and the process followed by the Democrats during their investigation.

"The Articles of Impeachment now before the Senate are an affront to the Constitution and to our democratic institutions. The Articles themselves—and the rigged process that brought them here—are a brazenly political act by House Democrats that must be rejected," the Trump team wrote in a legal brief submitted to the Senate earlier this week.

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Democrats charge that there's ample evidence that Trump abused his power by pressuring the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden for his personal gain in the 2020 election. They've also argued that Trump obstructed Congress when he refused to allow documents and witnesses during the House's impeachment inquiry.

Like the House impeachment managers, Trump's legal team will be given 24 hours to present their opening statements to the Senate. The president is being represented by White House counsel Pat Cipollone and his personal attorney Jay Sekulow. Other lawyers on his team are Ken Starr, the former independent counsel involved in President Bill Clinton's impeachment, and Alan Dershowitz, the famed lawyer and Harvard law professor.

But it's been reported that Trump's team may not use all of their allotted time, unlike the Democrats. If the president's team does choose to end its arguments early, the entire trial could be over as early as next Friday—before the president's scheduled State of the Union address on February 4.

jay sekulow trump defense team impeachment
Defense team member and President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Jay Sekulow speaks to reporters during a recess in the Senate impeachment proceedings on January 22. Trump's team will take over the trial on Saturday to start its opening arguments. Drew Angerer/Getty

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"We're not going to try to run the clock out," Sekulow told reporters Thursday. He added that whatever amount of time the team uses, he's confident that "the case will be made defending the president."

The Senate will reconvene at 10 a.m. EST on Saturday for opening arguments from Trump's team. The president complained on Friday about his defense team being forced to present their case over the weekend, during what he called the "Death Valley" of TV time slots.

"After having been treated unbelievably unfairly in the House, and then having to endure hour after hour of lies, fraud & deception by Shifty Schiff, Cryin' Chuck Schumer & their crew, looks like my lawyers will be forced to start on Saturday, which is called Death Valley in T.V.," Trump wrote on Twitter.

Trump Impeachment Trial Day Six: What To Watch For As The President's Defense Takes Over | U.S.