Friday, January 31, 2020
Cortney O'Brien |Townhall.Com
Source: AP Photo/Tony Dejak
Sorry folks. It looks like this trial is not over yet. Although the Senate voted down the option to call forth more witnesses Friday night, the actual vote on the two articles of impeachment, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, has been delayed until next Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET, following a few rounds of closing arguments. The new schedule means the vote is arriving the day after President Trump is delivering his fourth State of the Union.
The White House predicted the timing will give Trump the opportunity to deliver a "one-two punch."
WH's Eric Ueland on State of the Union, followed by impeachment verdict votes back to back: It's a strong one-two punch..We believe that both these elements you'r geoing to see play out next week help bring focus to the president successes, where he's going to take the country.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) put an extra nail in the coffin for the Democrats' plan to call additional witnesses when she revealed her "no" vote on Friday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that this should be the last straw. The House Democrats had their chance to try and make a case and they blew it.
"There is no need for the Senate to re-open the investigation which the House Democratic majority chose to conclude and which the Managers themselves continue to describe as “overwhelming” and “beyond any doubt,” McConnell said in a statement on Friday. "Never in Senate history has this body paused an impeachment trial to pursue additional witnesses with unresolved questions of executive privilege that would require protracted litigation. We have no interest in establishing such a new precedent, particularly for individuals whom the House expressly chose not to pursue."
Democrats have been clamoring to call former national security adviser John Bolton as a witness, especially after the manuscript for his new book leaked. In it, Bolton reportedly claims that President Trump did tie Ukrainian aid to an investigation of Joe and Hunter Biden and their ties to a corrupt Ukrainian gas company, Burisma Holdings.
Trump responded by sharing a clip of Bolton telling the press that his phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky was nothing but "warm and cordial" and that Trump was intent on rooting out corruption. He said nothing about his re-election.
The U.S. Capitol is seen at sunset in Washington, Jan. 24, 2019. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., appears to have the votes to end the trial against President Trump. (Associated Press)
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., announced late Thursday night that he would not support additional witnesses in President Trump's "shallow, hurried and wholly partisan" Senate impeachment trial, seemingly ending Democrats' hopes of hearing testimony from former national security adviser John Bolton and paving the way for the president's imminent acquittal as soon as Friday night.
"If this shallow, hurried and wholly partisan impeachment were to succeed, it would rip the country apart, pouring gasoline on the fire of cultural divisions that already exist," Alexander said. "It would create the weapon of perpetual impeachment to be used against future presidents whenever the House of Representatives is of a different political party."
He added: “The framers believed that there should never, ever be a partisan impeachment. That is why the Constitution requires a 2/3 vote of the Senate for conviction. Yet not one House Republican voted for these articles."
On Tuesday, Trump is set to address Congress for the annual State of the Union address, which is increasingly likely to resemble a victory lap following months of quixotic Democratic calls for the president's removal from office.
Should the witness vote fail as expected on Friday evening, the Senate would likely then vote on either additional motions for debate, or even the articles of impeachment themselves. An extraordinarily unlikely two-thirds supermajority vote is needed to convict and remove Trump; otherwise he will be acquitted.
The State Department on Thursday night raised its China travel advisory to "Level 4: Do Not Travel," citing the spread of the deadly coronavirus, days after evacuating non-emergency U.S. personnel and their families out of the country amid an uptick in infections.
"Those currently in China should consider departing using commercial means. The Department of State has requested that all non-essential U.S. government personnel defer travel to China in light of the novel coronavirus," officials said in the advisory.
It was upgraded from a Level 3 issued earlier this week that urged Americans to reconsider travel to Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus that officials have since quarantined, along with at least 17 other cities.
The U.S. has been offering additional evacuation flights for private citizens out of China. The State Department said the flights will leave from Wuhan International Airport “on or about Feb. 3" and will be available on a "reimbursable basis."
Roughly 195 Americans were flown out of Wuhan -- the city where the outbreak originated -- earlier this week and are undergoing three days of testing at a Southern California military base before being released.
The World Health Organization on Thursday declared the outbreak a global health emergency after a recent jump in infections, which totaled more than 7,800 as of Thursday. The virus has claimed the lives of at least 170 people.
Over the past 24 hours, there were 38 new deaths and nearly 1,740 reported cases.
Multiple countries have taken extra precautions to stem to the flow of the pneuma-like virus, or 2019-nCoV, from crossing their borders. Six cases have been confirmed in the United States.
Nearly 100 cases have been reported outside of China -- including eight cases of human-to-human transmission in four countries: Germany, Japan, Vietnam and the U.S.
Common symptoms of coronaviruses have resembled those of the common cold. Other strains of the virus such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) could cause pneumonia and possible death.
The Chinese government has begun construction of hospitals to treat and evaluate patients. Villagers in the suburbs of Beijing have taken measures of their own by sealing off their towns from outsiders.
Their tactics have been similar to ones used during the outbreak of SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, in 2002-03. The disease originated in China and killed nearly 800 people. The current number of coronavirus cases now has surpassed the number of cases of SARS during the outbreak nearly two decades ago, but the current death toll has been lower.
In China, and several other countries, the sale of surgical masks have skyrocketed as the illness continues to spread beyond China's borders.
Fox News' David Aaro contributed to this report.
Thursday, January 30, 2020
President Donald J. Trump’s United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Delivers a Historic Win for American Workers
“The USMCA is the largest, most significant, modern, and balanced trade agreement in history. All of our countries will benefit greatly.”
President Donald J. Trump
DELIVERING ON HIS PROMISE: President Donald J. Trump is replacing the outdated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
- Wednesday, President Trump signed his historic USMCA deal, making good on his promise to deliver fairer and more reciprocal trade for the American people.
- USMCA will replace the terrible NAFTA agreement that resulted in the loss of millions of American jobs and devastated communities across our county.
- The deal marks a tremendous victory for American workers, farmers, manufacturers, and businesses alike.
STANDING UP FOR AMERICAN WORKERS: USMCA will deliver more jobs and better labor protections that benefit American workers, while fostering more growth for American businesses.
- While NAFTA was a disaster for American workers, USMCA will deliver new jobs and better protections for hardworking Americans across the country.
- USMCA has the potential to create nearly 600,000 jobs and generate up to $235 billion in economic activity.
- This deal includes the strongest, most advanced, and most comprehensive labor chapter of any American trade agreement in history.
- Workers in all sectors of the economy are expected to benefit from this landmark agreement.
- USMCA is the first United States trade agreement to ever include a chapter supporting small and medium sized businesses.
SUPPORTING AMERICAN FARMERS: USMCA includes tremendous breakthroughs for American agriculture.
- USMCA is a monumental win for American farmers and ranchers, improving access to Canadian and Mexican markets to export their goods.
- As a result of President Trump’s efforts to secure a better deal for our farmers, American agricultural exports are expected to increase by $2.2 billion under USMCA.
- Under the agreement, Canada has agreed to expand market access for American dairy, egg, and poultry producers.
- The agreement is expected to grow annual dairy exports by nearly $315 million.
- American wheat growers will have access to a more level playing field.
- Thanks to this deal, Canada will finally give fair treatment to American-grown wheat.
DRIVING NEW GROWTH FOR THE AUTO INDUSTRY: USMCA will provide a massive boost to American manufacturers, particularly our vital auto industry.
- USMCA will achieve fairer, more reciprocal trade that supports high-paying American manufacturing jobs and grows the economy.
- USMCA includes innovative provisions to incentivize new investments in the American auto industry and support high-paying jobs for American auto workers.
- New wage and rules of origin requirements included in the agreement will put American autoworkers on a level playing field with workers from other countries.
- USMCA is expected to create up to 76,000 new auto jobs, spur $34 billion in new investment in the auto industry, and add $23 billion in auto parts purchases annually.
MODERNIZING REGIONAL TRADE: USMCA will bring our trade relationship with Canada and Mexico into the 21st century.
- USMCA is a modern trade deal that will completely transform our trade relationship with Canada and Mexico and end the outdated NAFTA.
- USMCA contains new protections for American intellectual property, ensuring strong, effective protection for American innovators and creators.
- Included in USMCA is a first-of-its-kind chapter on digital trade, which the decades-old NAFTA was never updated to address.
- The digital trade provisions included in this agreement will foster economic growth and innovation for years to come.
- USMCA includes first-of-its-kind provisions to prohibit unfair currency practices and reinforce exchange rate stability.
- The agreement includes the strongest environmental standards of any trade agreement in our history.
- These standards are fully enforceable and will help prevent companies from moving out of the United States—and taking jobs with them—to avoid environmental rules.
Wednesday, January 29, 2020
By Katie Pavlich | Townhall.Com
Source: (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Joined by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House Tuesday afternoon, President Donald Trump announced a new Middle East peace plan between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
"This vision for peace is fundamentally different from past proposals," Trump said. "Complex problems require nuances, fact based remedies."
“I was not elected to do small things or shy away from big problems," he said.
The plan is 80-pages long and according to Trump, is the most comprehensive and detailed ever put forward by the United States. It has been endorsed by Netanyahu and his political opponent, Benny Gantz. Both met with Trump yesterday to go over final details.
Peace to Prosperity | The White House
President Trump’s vision for peace between Israel and the Palestinians is a realistic path to prosperity, security, and dignity for all involved.
"Mr. Prime Minister thank you for having the courage to take this bold step forward," Trump said. "We are not here to lecture—we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship. Instead, we are here to offer partnership – based on shared interests and values – to pursue a better future for us all."
The plan puts a freeze on Israeli settlements for four years, gives Israel sovereignty over the Golan Heights and the Jordan Valley and keeps holy sites in Jerusalem under Israeli security control. The Palestinians, when they meet a list of standards, will be given additional sovereignty of double the territory they occupy now and will see a tunnel connecting Gaza and the West Bank.
Senior White House advisor Jared Kushner, who worked extensively on the plan, was in attendance along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and former Senator Joe Lieberman. Ambassadors from Oman, the UAE and Bahrain were also in attendance.
"We are asking the Palestinians to meet the challenge of peaceful coexistence," Trump said, issuing a list of conditions for statehood. "We will also work to create a contiguous territory within the future Palestinian state for when the conditions for statehood are met, including the firm rejection of terrorism."
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is responding to the plan, which he refused to participate in or negotiate, by meeting with terrorist organizations Hamas and Islamic Jihad. As the deal was announced, the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem issued a security notice.
Tuesday, January 28, 2020
CNN Mocked Trump Voters and Sparked This Twitter User to Deliver a Blistering Response to the Liberal Elite
By Matt Vespa | Towhnall.Com
Julio covered this and all its awfulness. CNN once again mocked Trump voters, but with a more vicious tone. It occurred over the weekend.
Saturday saw Don Lemon and his guests denigrating Trump voters as illiterate country bumpkins because as of now, with the Democrats’ impeachment push about to die, the economy booming, and a 2020 Democratic field that just looks incapable of beating the president—what else can liberal America do?
This is all they have. It’s pathetic. It’s maddening. It’s why the media is so hated, and rightfully so.
The segment on "CNN Tonight with Don Lemon" is drawing heavy criticism after guests Wajahat Ali and Rick Wilson spent some time mocking President Trump and his supporters as Americans who can't read, write, or read a map.
Wilson began the parade of insults on Saturday when he said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo "knows deep in his heart that Donald Trump couldn’t find a Ukraine on a map if you had the letter U and an actual crane. He knows this is an administration defined by the ignorance of the world. That’s part of him playing to their base."
Describing Trump's base as a "credulous, boomer rube" demographic, Wilson then used a southern accent to state: "'Donald Trump’s a smart one and y’all elitists are dumb.'"
Host Don Lemon burst into laughter as Wilson mocked the voters.
"'You elitists with your geography, maps, spelling,'" Ali joined in. "'Yeah, your reading. Your geography. Knowing other countries. Sipping your latte.'"
And all this exchange did was create new Trump voters. It’s one of the many notes a Twitter user, Gracie, Chief Fun Officer, noted, and she was clearly irate over this segment.
“Every day you turn more and more folks who hate Trump into his future voters. The people who wouldn't vote for him in 2016 and were planning on doing the same in 2020 are done with your sh*t,” she wrote.
“Keep going on CNN and making an ass of yourself. It'll make Donald Trump's reelection all the much sweeter for those of us who you look down on,” she added.
She also said that she’s college-educated, aced her geography class, and is not really a fan of Trump, but this nonsense the condescending elitism inherent in liberal America, is what she despises even more.
Monday, January 27, 2020
Ken Starr Accuses House Democrats Of Delivering Impeachment Articles ‘Dripping With Process Violations’
BY VIRGINIA KRUTA | Daily Caller
Ken Starr took the Senate floor Monday and ripped into House Democrats for turning over articles of impeachment that he claimed were “dripping with process violations.”
Starr, who once led the prosecution against former President Bill Clinton, delivered his remarks in defense of President Donald Trump as his impeachment trial continued in the Senate.
Starr made several comparisons to prior impeachments, criticizing the House for moving forward despite having no Republican support whatsoever. He then took aim at the House for changing the process in a lopsided fashion.
“But then again, the House members took no oath to be impartial,” Starr said. “The Constitution didn’t require them to say by oath or affirmation like an impartial justice. They were oathless. They could toss out their own rule book. Raw power.”
Starr went on to argue that the articles of impeachment against President Trump were indicative of a “runaway House” that had run from its own processes and even the Constitution in order to reach a desired conclusion.
Instead, he suggested, they provided the Senate with an “exit ramp,” adding, “House Democrats chose to conduct an unprecedented process in this case, and they were warned at every turn, don’t do it, don’t do it that way.”
“The president is being denied the basic rights that have been afforded to every single accused president in the history of the republic, even to the racist Andrew Johnson, seeking to undo Mr. Lincoln’s great legacy. He got those rights, but not here,” Starr continued. “Due Process could have been honored. Basic rights could have been honored. The House rules, the House’s traditions could have been honored, but what is done is done. These two articles come before this court, this high court of impeachment, dripping with fundamental process violations.”
Starr concluded by addressing the Senate and demanding that they apply the standards written into the Constitution’s preamble.
“The very first order of our government after to form a more perfect union is to establish justice, to establish justice, even before getting to the words to provide for the common defense, to promote the general welfare, to ensure domestic tranquility, the Constitution works to establish justice,” he said. “Courts would not allow this. They would not allow this because why?” Starr added. “They knew and they know that the purpose of our founding instrument is to protect our liberties. To safeguard us, but to safeguard us as individuals against the powers of government … to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. Liberty under law.”
IN OTHER NEWS
Bolton's manuscript leaks as memoir pre-orders begin on Amazon; Trump fires back
Former National Security Adviser John Bolton's team was under fire from the White House and conservative commentators Sunday night, after a report in The New York Times revealed a bombshell excerpt from Bolton's forthcoming book that could prove pivotal in President Trump's impeachment trial -- just as the Amazon product page for the book went live.
The drama began earlier Sunday when the Times exclusively reported that Bolton's manuscript included a claim that Trump explicitly linked a hold on Ukraine aid to an investigation of Joe and Hunter Biden. Trump told Bolton in August, according to a transcript of Bolton's forthcoming book reviewed by the Times, "that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens."
The Times further claimed Bolton had shared a manuscript of his forthcoming book with "close associates" -- prompting Bolton's team to deny the claim, and assert that the National Security Council's [NSC's] review process of pending manuscripts is "corrupted" and prone to leaks.
A "pre-publication review" at the NSC, which functions as the White House's national security forum, is standard for any former government officials who held security clearances and publicly write or speak publicly about their official work. The review typically would focus on ferreting out any classified or sensitive material in advance of publication, and could take from days to months.
Trump fired back on Twitter on Sunday to refute Bolton's claims, saying he "NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens." Trump went on to accuse Bolton of trying to "sell a book," noting that Bolton did not complain publicly or privately about the aid holdup "at the time of his very public termination."
Other conservatives also suggested Sunday evening that Bolton's team may have leaked the information themselves while using the media as unwitting tools to juice their book sales. Online merchants began taking orders for Bolton's book, entitled "The Room Where It Happened," just as the Times' story broke, with a March release date.
"A former advisor to the President and the NY Times turned impeachment hearings into a marketing strategy and there are still people wandering around wondering how we ever ended up with Donald Trump," wrote podcast host Stephen Miller.
"Just like James Comey, John Bolton is trying to get rich off of a lie- and leak-fueled campaign to overturn the 2016 election results," wrote The Federalist's Sean Davis."I suspect it will work out as well as all of Bolton’s other wars."
Davis added, in a post that was retweeted by the president: "John Bolton is running the exact same revenge playbook against Trump that James Comey used. He’s even using the same agent and leaking to the same reporters. All because he’s mad Trump fired him for leaking and trying to start new wars. It’s so boring and predictable. ... If you think anyone other than Bolton’s lawyer, publisher, or agent leaked this to 1) juice sales of his book, and 2) get revenge against Trump for firing Bolton and refusing to start a bunch of new wars, you’re an idiot."
Meanwhile, CNN's Brian Stelter simply noted that Bolton's book was now on sale, with cover art that resembles the Oval Office.
Mused CBS News' "60 Minutes" correspondent John Dickerson, "Those publicists don’t miss a trick."
Sarah Tinsley, a senior adviser to Bolton, told Fox News he had submitted a hard copy draft of his manuscript to the NSC several weeks ago for "pre-publication review," but insisted he had not shared it with anyone else.
And, in a statement obtained by Fox News, Bolton attorney Charles Cooper lamented that the NSC review process had been "corrupted."
He also provided his letter to the White House concerning the manuscript.
"On December 30, 2019, I submitted, on behalf of Ambassador Bolton, a book manuscript to the National Security Council’s Records Management Division for standard prepublication security review for classified information.
As explained in my cover letter to Ellen J. Knight, Senior Director of the Records Management Division, we submitted the manuscript notwithstanding our firm belief that the manuscript contained no information that could reasonably be considered classified and on the assurance that the 'process of reviewing submitted materials is restricted to those career government officials and employees regularly charged with responsibility for such reviews' and that the 'contents of Ambassador Bolton’s manuscript will not be reviewed or otherwise disclosed to any persons not regularly involved in that process.'"
Cooper continued: "A copy of my December 30 letter is attached. It is clear, regrettably, from The New York Times article published today that the prepublication review process has been corrupted and that information has been disclosed by persons other than those properly involved in reviewing the manuscript."
Bolton's team declined to "speculate" to Fox News as to how a description of his manuscript might have leaked to the Times. Additionally, Bolton's representatives made clear he was not denying the Times' claim concerning the Ukraine aid holdup and the possible investigation of the Bidens.
A former advisor to the President and the NY Times turned impeachment hearings into a marketing strategy and there are still people wandering around wondering how we ever ended up with Donald Trump.
Amazing how this happened immediately after The New York Times ran their story, almost like it was coordinated to promote book sales!
"Just now, we're getting more indications about John Bolton, and what he knew, which is one more reason why, if this is a serious trial, we're going to have the witnesses and evidence," Buttigieg said.
The president has said that Bolton testimony might imperil national security and compromise executive privilege, the longstanding legal principle that generally protects executive branch deliberations from disclosure.
"The problem with John [Bolton] is, it's a national security problem," Trump told Fox News at a recent press conference in Davos, Switzerland. "If you think about it, he knows some of my thoughts, he knows what I think about leaders. What happens if he reveals what I think about a certain leader and it's not very positive? ... It's going to be very hard, it's going to make the job very hard. He knows other things. I don't know if we left on the best of terms. I would say probably not. So you don't like people testifying when they didn't leave on good terms -- and that was due to me, not due to him."
Trump added: "The way I look at it, I call it national security. For national security reasons. Executive privilege, they say."
Trump's lawyers on Monday are set to resume presenting their defense in the Senate, which will then decide whether to hear additional witnesses by a simple majority vote. At the Town Hall, Buttigieg emphasized that Trump should be removed from office -- a highly unlikely eventuality, given that a two-thirds vote of the GOP-controlled Senate would be necessary.
Gregg Re is a lawyer and editor based in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @gregg_re or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, January 26, 2020
BY MATT MARGOLIS | PJ Media
President Donald Trump smiles during State of the Union address, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018 in Washington. (Win McNamee/Pool via AP)
If you’ve watched the Democrat primary debates you’ve probably been getting mixed messages about the economy. One minute you’re being told the economy is horrible, and Trump is to blame, and the next you’re being told the economy is great, but that’s because of Barack Obama, not Trump.
Well, both those statements are wrong according to a new Fox News Poll released Sunday that finds that “voters give the economy its best ratings in nearly two decades [...] and credit President Trump.”
The same poll found the country virtually split on impeachment.
The poll found that 55 percent of voters rate the economy as excellent or good—the highest it’s been in 19 years.
According to the poll, a new high of 20 percent say the economy is in "excellent" shape, up six points since October. This is a huge shift from the Obama years. In fact, a mere 3 percent rated the economy “excellent” during Obama’s final full month in office.
Despite the efforts of Democrats to credit Obama for the economy, voters just don’t see it that way. When voters were asked open-endedly who they credit for the economy’s current strength, 42 percent credited Trump and the Republicans, while only 9 percent credited Obama and the Democrats.
The only caveat to this poll is how the perception of the economy correlates to party identification. Most Republicans rate the economy positively (85 percent) while why most Democrats rate it negatively (68 percent). Independents are split.
Bottom line: this poll should terrify Democrats. As the old saying goes, “It’s the economy stupid,” and no matter what Democrats throw at Trump, if people are feeling good about their wallets and their bank accounts, Trump will be very difficult to beat in November.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama's Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis
Saturday, January 25, 2020
By Cortney O'Brien | Fox News
White House Counsel Cipollone notes how Dems skipped the mention of burden sharing. Source: AP Photo/Julio Cortez
White House lead counsel Pat Cipollone kicked off the defense's arguments in the impeachment trial against President Trump in the Senate on Saturday. He began by informing the senators-turned-jurors of what the Democrats didn't tell them about Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Two words: burden sharing.
"They didn't tell you that burden sharing was discussed in the call," Cipollone said.
At the outset of Trump's July call with Zelensky, the call that led to Trump's impeachment, Trump told the new Ukrainian leader that Germany "does almost nothing" for them, as well as a host of other European countries. Zelensky said Trump was "absolutely right."
The Democrats apparently "didn't have time in 24 hours to tell you this," Cipollone said.
Trump then turned their conversation to corruption in the 2016 presidential election and there's "nothing wrong" with asking a foreign power to get to the bottom of corruption, Cipollone noted.
The White House counsel concluded that the other side simply "hid evidence" from the senators.
Deputy White House Counsel Michael Purpura drove home that point, switching to the issue of supposed "quid pro quo." Again, in their 24 hours of arguments, the Democrats failed to tell the senators that the Javelin missiles discussed were not part of the paused military aid. To suggest otherwise, he said, is "misleading."
"They're just trying to confuse you," Purpura told the Senate.
Speaking of misleading, Purpura kicked off his part of the argument by presenting the Senate with the infamous clip of lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff embellishing parts of the July 25 transcript.
Finally, Purpura noted how the Democrats relied heavily on EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland's testimony during last month's impeachment hearings, but they failed to put his testimony in "full context." Had they, Purpura noted, they would have noted how Sondland said his belief that Trump tied Ukraine aid to an investigation of the Bidens was based on the ambassador's own "presumptions." It had to be. Sondland had no direct knowledge of the phone call.
"In his public testimony, Ambassador Sondland use variations of the words assume, presume, guess speculate, and believe over 30 times," said Purpura.
The Democratic managers "have the burden of proof" in this trial, Cipollone reminded the Senate. So far, not so good.
IN OTHER NEWS
Trump legal team goes on offense in impeachment trial, accuse Democrats of 'massive' election interference
By Marisa Schultz | Fox News
Trump attorney Jay Sekulow. Source: AP Photo/Julio Cortez
Donald Trump's lawyers defended the president against articles of impeachment Saturday morning arguing it’s the Democrats trying to interfere in elections by seeking to remove Trump from the 2020 ballot for doing “absolutely nothing wrong.”
White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said Democrats have no case and are doing damage to democracy by trying to undermine the will of American voters.
“For all their talk about election interference, they're here to perpetrate the most massive interference in an election in American history,” Cipollone said in his opening remarks to the Senate. “And we can't allow that to happen."
Cipollone continued: “It would violate the sacred trust that the American people have placed in you and have placed in them. The American people decide elections. They have one coming up in nine months.”
Saturday was the first chance Trump’s lawyers had to refute the House’s case of impeachment and they came out making a forceful case that there are no grounds to remove Trump from office. Not only are Democrats asking the Senate to undo the results of the 2016 election but to tear up all ballots in the 2020 election with Trump’s name, Cipollone charged.
“They're asking you to do something that no Senate has ever done and they're asking you to do it with no evidence. And that's wrong,” Cipollone said.
Billed as a teaser for next week's argument, Trump's legal team gave a 2-hour preview of their legal argument. All told, they'll have three days and up to 24 hours to launch their defense - the same amount of time as House managers -- but Cipollone told senators up front they would be "respectful" of their time and make their presentations shorter and less repetitive than Democrats.
Trump's legal team sought Saturday sought to dismantle the Democrats’ argument on several fronts. First, Trump couldn't have pressured Ukraine because President Volodymyr Zelensky didn't know it was on hold until after his phone call with Trump, they said.
Trump attorney Jay Sekulow said the president's actions can't be viewed in a "vacuum" and reminded that Trump was "subjected" to the "Crossfire Hurricane" FBI probe before he president and then Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe after he was in office. Trump had reason to not "blindly trust" the intelligence community and turned instead to his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters, he said.
Sekulow noted the administration has placed holds on aid to a number of countries, including Afghanistan, Lebanon, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The U.S. withheld $300 million in military aid to Pakistan because it wasn't meeting counter-terrorism obligation, he said.
"You didn't hear about any of that from my Democratic colleagues, the House managers," Sekulow charged.
Trump's legal team went on offense by targeting the lead impeachment manager, Rep. Adam Schiff -- first showing the Intelligence Committee chairman reading the essence of Trump's July 25 phone call with Zelensky -- and ripping Schiff's rendition as "a fake." They also showed contradictory videos of Schiff's comments about first wanting to hear from the whistleblower and then changing course over security concerns for the person who blew open the Ukraine case.
"Adam Schiff got kneecapped," Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla, told Fox News after the opening statements.
Instead of winning GOP senators over, Rep. Schiff, D-C.A .and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, ticked off two key GOP swing voters this week with unforced errors on the Senate floor. Both Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska., said they were upset that Nadler accused Republicans of engaging in a “cover-up” for taking a “treacherous vote” to deny new witnesses.
Nadler's language and Cipollone's lashing back that Nadler should be "embarrassed" prompted Chief Justice John Roberts to admonish both sides.
And Schiff brought up CBS News' reporting Friday night that GOP senators were warned “your head will be on pike” if you vote against Trump.
Republicans groaned at Schiff’s assertion and Collins, visibly agitated, shook her head on the Senate floor and loudly shot back at Schiff: “Not true!”
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is surrounded by reporters as she heads to vote at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
With little hope of winning a conviction in the GOP-controlled Senate, Democrats have turned their attention to forcing a vote on calling new witnesses and obtaining White House documents, which would take the support of just 51 senators--or four GOP defections.
Another vote on witnesses is expected next week after Trump’s defense team finishes its arguments and senators complete 16 hours of questioning to both sides.
Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.