Former President Donald Trump was unhappy with the opening argument of his lawyer Bruce Castor on the Senate floor Tuesday, CNN reported citing two people familiar with his reaction who spoke to the agency.
Castor delivered a rambling argument, which included praise for the House impeachment managers for a presentation that he said was “well done”. It was the first day of the Senate impeachment trial at which Castor is representing Trump alongside attorney David Schoen.
As Castor failed to get to the heart of the argument of the defense team, it left a visibly upset Trump almost screaming. The defense was supposed to focus on the constitutionality of a trial for a president no longer in office. CNN cited one of the sources as saying, given that the legal team had been assembled a little over a week ago, it was expected.
But, Trump’s allies were in for a shock with the attorneys switching speaking slots at the last minute.
Castor’s long winded presentation included praise of the Senate, including his home state Pennsylvania senators — Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Bob Casey even as he argued that the Senate should not be holding the trial. He warned the second impeachment in thirteen months could open the flood gates to future impeachments. He added that former Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder could be impeached, a rhetorical suggestion that lacked basis.
The Senate went on to vote 56-44 that the impeachment trial was constitutional.
According to an adviser to Trump’s team the former President could be in serious jeopardy if he were to find himself charged in criminal court, as he had been unable to attract a high-powered legal team for the impeachment trial, CNN reported.
He added Trump would be in serious trouble if he was charged as no one wanted to work with him.
Two people familiar with the plan told CNN, Schoen was supposed to present first, not Castor, however, Castor told the Senate that Trump’s legal team changed what they planned as they thought that the House managers’ presentation was well done.
With Schoen taking over from Castor, the defense team came on strong with Schoen charging Democrats were using impeachment as a political “blood sport” to try to ensure Trump would not be able to run for office again, adding that they were trying to disenfranchise pro-Trump voters.
Though the early performance of the legal team failed to impress Trump, his staff continued to believe he would be acquitted and the outcome of the trial would remain unchanged. CNN cited two separate sources close to Trump as saying he was lying low through the end of the trial. But he continued to talk to aides about making a comeback and helping Republicans in the midterm elections.
Another senior adviser to Trump insisted that Castor was trying to cool the charged atmosphere in the Senate before Schoen began his presentation.
The adviser said it was about lowering the temperature following the Democrats’ emotionally charged opening, ahead of clinching the issue with argument of unconstitutional nature of the impeachment witch hunt,” the adviser said.
But even some GOP senators found the presentation unimpressive.
Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, who voted that the trial was unconstitutional — told reporters he thought the President’s first lawyer just rambled on and on and on and failed to address the constitutional argument.”
He added finally the second lawyer got around to it, and he thought did an effective job, adding but he had seen a lot of lawyers and a lot of arguments and that it was not one of the finest he had seen.