The Senate impeachment schedule will see President Donald Trump’s White House and personal lawyers begin their allotted 24 hours of oral arguments defending Trump on Saturday. As any former reality TV host-turned U.S. President knows, that’s no good for ratings.
“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 Friday morning, ahead of the start of Day 4 of the Senate trial.
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According to the impeachment rules which were hammered out in a marathon session Monday, each side gets 24 hours over three days to try their cases. The House impeachment managers wrap up their portion today.
Some reports suggest Trump’s legal team — White House counsel Pat A. Cipollone, Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow, Alan Dershowitz, Ken Starr and others — won’t need their full allotment to make their case. Saturday’s opening arguments begin at 10 AM ET and are expected to last three hours.
According to Senate rules, there can’t be Sunday sessions, meaning they could be done by Monday or Tuesday.
Trump has always been keen to offer ratings analysis, from boasting about his run hosting NBC’s The Apprentice to dinging Arnold Schwarzenegger for the subpar ratings of The Celebrity Apprentice in 2017. Some of his criticisms of media figures including jabs at their Nielsen numbers; he usually refers to his nemesis cable news network as “low rated CNN.”
As for the impeachment trial, senators will have 16 total hours to ask questions submitted on paper to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, before a likely debate resumes over whether witnesses (like John Bolton or Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney) or additional documents (from the White House, the State Department or the Justice Department) can be subpoenaed. All those motions were struck down during Monday’s rules session.
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