The president’s defense team resumed its arguments on Monday, rejecting allegations reported from a leaked manuscript of former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s unreleased book to the New York Times, warning of the dangers of impeachment, and also directing attention to corruption allegations surrounding Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
Jay Sekulow, Trump’s lead personal attorney opened up the day by indirectly addressing the Bolton issue:
“We deal with transcript evidence. We deal with publicly available information. We do not deal with speculation, allegations that are not based on evidentiary standards at all.”Jay Sekulow, President Trump’s personal attorney
Bolton’s name was not mentioned directly at all, instead the defense team proceeded to bring in Kenneth Starr, who managed to grab the attention of the entire Senate for half an hour to speak of the dangers of the “age of impeachment” and remind senators of the weight of their duties, comparing it to domestic war.
Mike Purpura, Jane Raskin, Patrick Philbin, Pam Bondi, and Eric Herschmann then proceeded to present their defensive arguments, but also went onto the attack, raising questions about Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s role on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company. Herschmann went on to portray the impeachment move as a political maneuver, referencing how the House supported Obama’s lack of support for Ukraine during Russia’s invasion of Crimea, but impeaching Trump when he delayed support to Ukraine to further review the financial package.
Former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz closed the day with the argument that any of the Bolton evidence, even if true, was irrelevant because none of it constituted legitimate impeachable offenses. The presentation seemed to satisfy Republicans, who were concerned that the Bolton allegations were not addressed directly throughout the day despite being front of mind for the entire Senate due to the news released earlier in the day of Bolton’s leaked manuscript.
Ted Cruz, who ran against Trump for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, has been an unlikely ally during the impeachment proceedings, supporting the argument against Biden, referencing a public speech Biden made in 2018 where he appeared to boast about withholding military aid to Ukraine as a pressure tactic to fire a particular government prosecutor.
The defense team will continue tomorrow, followed by a question period, where senators can submit written questions to both sides. A vote is expected Friday to determine whether to call witnesses in the trial, which has been an area of consternation due to the potential to extend the trial as well as introduce unknowns from witnesses such as John Bolton.