White House scrambles to assemble Trump's impeachment defense

Chris Megerian and Noah Bierman, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Political News

Dershowitz approved, calling it the "right approach" because "the articles of impeachment simply do not charge constitutionally impeachable offenses."

"We've never had an impeachment previously that didn't at least claim that it fit the constitutional criteria," he said in a phone interview.

In a separate interview, Sekulow said the legal team wasn't going to commit to any such plan.

"Nothing's off the table, but it's too early to decide," he said.

The idea also appears a nonstarter with Senate Republicans, who have made no secret about their intent to acquit Trump but prize their chamber's reputation as an independent, deliberative body.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told Fox News that they want to avoid the "circuslike" atmosphere that existed in the more rambunctious, Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.


Unlike in the House, where Trump's allies cared little if it looked like the president was calling the shots, some senators may bristle at the appearance that they're carrying his water even if they back him in the end.

"Senators as a rule don't like to be dictated to," said Jim Manley, who served as an adviser to former Democratic leader Harry Reid.

Trump's advisers have tried to make him aware of that distinction, and at times he has shown some deference in his public comments and tweets, suggesting he would not intervene in the process. But Trump usually resists being reined in when his own reputation is on the line.

"He's spent his life trying to fix things to manipulate things for his own benefit," Manley said. "The question here is whether he's going to be able to fix the Senate like he used to do with New York real estate deals."


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