A report in The New York Times said that White House officials believe Mr. Bolton, who is writing a book, took notes that he should have left behind when he resigned his post. “Now we learned that John Bolton took detailed notes and presumably these are contemporaneous,” Mr. Schiff said on CNN’s “New Day” program. “These notes took place while the events were happening, while they were fresh in his mind. Those, in many respects, are more important than the manuscript. So we ought to not only have John Bolton testify, but we ought to see what he wrote down in his notes at the time.”
But here — here’s what I have never seen before. I’m not Perry Mason, but I have done my fair share of trials in the military and civilian world. Never in my life have I started the trial asking the following of the judge or the jury: Do you mind calling witnesses now that I chose not to call before? Do you mind seeking evidence that I chose not to seek?
Because I want you to do it, because if I had called Bolton and Mulvaney in the House, the president would have gone to court to exercise executive privilege. And I didn’t want him to do that, because I couldn’t impeach him before Christmas if we had to deal with this thing called the court.
So, I am stunned to hear from the House managers that they want the Senate to call witnesses now they could have called before.
And they’re putting us in the box of destroying executive privilege or delaying the trial.
Former Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC), “I would let Jerry Nadler take all the time he wants to talk. Jerry Nadler’s trial strategy is to insult the jury. What I would do is begin to ask questions of Schiff and connect the process with the substance. I would go line by line through that parody and ask Adam Schiff why did you say that?”
Doug Collins (R-GA), “The President did nothing wrong. the facts and the truth are on the presidents side and the house managers know that. Chairman Nadler said, If you don’t agree with me then you are corrupt. This just shows the american people in a clear form that the House Managers have nothing on this President accept smear, innuendo with the election 2020 in mind.”
Members of the Trump defense team saw their two-hour presentation Saturday as a preview of coming attractions — a way to give senators a sense of the president’s defense while also suggesting there is much more to come when the impeachment trial resumes Monday. They were also acutely aware that, after 23 hours of the Democratic case against the president made over the course of three days, many senators were just tired. Even if the first day of presentation had not come on a low-rating Saturday, Republicans would have stayed away from forcing senators into another late night.
Lawmakers were “relieved after such a long week,” one GOP source said Saturday afternoon — relieved both to get a break and to see the Trump team at the podium offering a vigorous defense after three days of listening to the Democratic House impeachment managers make the case for removing President Trump.
And what relieved many GOP lawmakers was that the Trump defenders immediately dove into the facts of the Trump-Ukraine matter. Yes, some have strong objections about the process the House followed in impeaching the president. Indeed, some Democrats had charged that was all Trump defenders had to argue. But the opening of Saturday’s argument was about the substance of the case.
“Today’s approach was to address head-on the facts that [Democratic impeachment managers] presented by presenting a more fulsome view of those facts, a more in-depth view, because they were very much cherry-picked,” said a member of Trump’s defense team in a phone conversation Saturday.
Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman and impeachment trial manager Adam Schiff said the White House defense team is “deathly afraid of what witnesses will have to say” and “if they’re successful in depriving the country of a fair trial, there is no exoneration.”
Schiff said “it is a false choice to say if the House gets to call witnesses doesn’t the president” and the president has “the right to call relevant witnesses just as we do, in his defense” but “he doesn’t have the right to call irrelevant witnesses.”
“If they’re irrelevant, what are you afraid of? Won’t that be exposed?” host Chuck Todd asked Schiff.
“I’m not afraid of anything. The question is: Should the trial be used as a vehicle to smear his opponent? Is that the purpose of a Senate trial? Or is it to get to the truth? Because if it’s to get to the truth, Hunter Biden can’t tell us anything about the withholding of the military funding,” Schiff said.
The president weighed in on Schiff’s interview not long after it aired:
Sleepyeyes Chuck Todd of Meet the Corrupt Press, just had a “totally” softball interview with conman Adam Schiff, never even calling Shifty out on his fraudulent statement to Congress, where he made up ALL of the words of my conversation with the Ukrainian President! FAKE NEWS
CHUCK TODD: Where are you on witness reciprocity?
ADAM SCHIFF: Look, I think the president has the right to call relevant witnesses, just as we do, in his defense. He doesn’t have the right to call irrelevant witnesses or witnesses who aren’t fact witnesses.
CHUCK TODD: Well, if the Senate says he does, why not then — I mean, that’s the way the trial rules work. I mean, I understand where you come from, but if the Senate says he can, then he can.
ADAM SCHIFF: Well, the Senate can make whatever decision the Senate can make. And the American people can judge that decision. But if we’re talking about a fair trial, if the Senators are going to give content to their oath to be impartial administrators of justice, they can’t say, ‘Well, we’re going to allow the president to trade witnesses that don’t shed any light on the facts, but would allow him to, once again, try to smear his opponent. We’re going to make that the pound of flesh. We’re going to make that the cost of calling relevant witnesses.’
CHUCK TODD: If they’re irrelevant, what are you afraid of? Won’t that be exposed?
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: Well, it’s not a question of what I’m afraid of. I’m not afraid of anything. The question is: Should the trial be used as a vehicle to smear his opponent? Is that the purpose of a Senate trial? Or is it to get to the truth? Because if it’s to get to the truth, Hunter Biden can’t tell us anything about the withholding of the military funding. Hunter Biden can’t tell us why the president wouldn’t let the president of Ukraine into the Oval Office. Hunter Biden can’t tell us anything about that. And so, you know, it’s a false choice to say, “Well, if the House gets to call the witnesses, doesn’t the president?” Yes, we both get to call witnesses. We both get to call relevant ones. And one other point on this, Chuck, which is important. We have a very capable justice sitting right behind me who can make decisions about the materiality of witnesses. We trust the Supreme Court justice, the chief justice, to make those decisions. And one final thing, if you will…
The president’s team is pushing out the argument, “We don’t have time to call witnesses. We’d really love to have these people testify. We just don’t have time to do it. It would be too inconvenient.” That’s a dodge. We have a justice who can make decisions if there’s any legitimate claim of privilege.