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Trump has no right to 'irrelevant' witnesses, Schiff says

Ros Krasny, Hailey Waller and Steve Geimann, Bloomberg News on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump's legal team has the right to call witnesses in the president's impeachment trial but not "irrelevant" ones such as Joe Biden's son Hunter, the Democrat's lead impeachment manager said.

"It's not a question of what I'm afraid of. I'm not afraid of anything. It's a question of: Should the trial be used as a vehicle to smear his opponent ... or is it to get to the truth?" Rep. Adam Schiff of California, said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, spoke a day after Trump's legal team started its defense of the president in a two-hour session billed as a preview of their broader defense, which will start on Monday.

Trump had decried Saturdays as "Death Valley in T.V.," and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and attorney Jay Sekulow kept the first day's proceedings brief.

The gist of the Trump team's arguments, as put forward in various legal briefs and consistent with the president's public statements, is that Democrats are attempting to overturn the 2016 election and interfere in November's ballot.

'Destructive' argument

 

"They're asking you to do something that no Senate has ever done and they're asking you to do it with no evidence," Cipollone said Saturday.

Alan Dershowitz, a constitutional law expert and member of Trump's legal team who didn't speak during Saturday's hearing, said the impeachment managers failed to meet the high constitutional standard to remove a president.

Democrats "presented the strongest case they could present on their facts, but they didn't come close to alleging impeachable offensives," Dershowitz said on "Fox News Sunday," referring to bribery, treason and other high crimes and misdemeanors listed in the Constitution.

One Republican, Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana, on "Meet the Press" gave Democrats "credit" for a "broad, comprehensive case" against Trump but one that "was circumstantial in nature."

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