President Donald Trump complained on Friday that his legal team will not be able to present their case until Saturday, which he argued is “Death Valley in T.V.”
Trump, who has stacked his legal team with frequent TV legal commentators like former Jeffrey Epstein attorney Alan Dershowitz and former Jeffrey Epstein attorney Kenneth Starr, complained that the Senate trial, whose rules and schedule were determined by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republicans, would push his team’s arguments to a poor television timeslot.
"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 tweeted.
Republicans consider schedule change:
Republican senators told NBC News that there are discussions about whether to start later and end earlier on Saturday to push the core arguments to Monday.
Under Senate rules, both sides have 24 hours over three days to present their case.
Trump ally Lindsey Graham told Politico that the team is not expected to use all their time.
“I would like them to be thorough but don’t talk any longer than you have to,” Graham said.
If the Trump team does not use all of its time, the trial could be over as soon as Thursday or Friday depending on how the Senate votes on whether to allow witnesses.
Republicans want to hear actual defense:
While the House already presented much of their case during House hearings, the White House declined to participate and will present their case for the first time at the trial.
Sen. John Thune, the No. 3 Republican in the Senate, said he hopes to hear a “fact-based” defense to counter Democrats’ arguments.
“I assume at some point they're going to feature [Alan] Dershowitz and Ken Starr, people like that and talk about impeachment in the broader context of what that threshold is,” he told Politico.
Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, who joined all of his Republican colleagues in voting to bar new evidence from the trial, said he expects Trump’s legal team to focus on the Democrats’ lack of new evidence.
“They just don’t have any evidence,” Hawley said. “ I imagine that the president’s team will point that out.”
“I do hope they just lay out all the different pieces of information we do have about actors in Ukraine having some effect on 2016,” added Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson. “I don’t think you have to prove the case, I think all you have to prove is yeah, there are unanswered questions. They just have to prove that it is a legitimate concern that President Trump had.”