The Senate and President Trump’s defense team prepare for start of impeachment trial


WASHINGTON (ABC NEWS) – A historic week in the nation’s capital begins as the Senate impeachment trial is set to start Tuesday.

The President’s team submitting their legal arguments as the Senate outlines some strict rules.

Leaving the impeachment trial behind him, President Trump headed to Switzerland Monday night, attending the World Economic Forum. As he was taking off, the format for the trial, landed on Capitol Hill.

The majority leader offering a compressed schedule, giving each side 24 hours over two days to make their case, followed by 16 hours of Senator questions.

The President’s legal team offered the first glimpse of their defense, that the President did nothing wrong, did not commit a crime, and that even the Democrats’ arguments of Abuse of Power does not rise to an impeachable offense.

Something one of his lawyers, Alan Dershowitz, maintained over the weekend.

“The Articles of Impeachment are two noncriminal actions,” said Dershowitz.

But Dershowitz, who previously defended O.J. and Jeffery Epstein, argued the opposite during the Clinton impeachment.

“Impeachment certainly doesn’t have to be a crime, if you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of President,” said Dershowitz.

He was pressed Monday on if his client abused his power.

“I’m not going to answer that question yes or no. It’s irrelevant,” said Dershowitz, President Trump’s lawyer.

Democrats argue the President’s defense is a “chilling assertion” and “dead wrong” that “the facts are indisputable and the evidence is overwhelming.”

As they continue to push for additional witnesses, saying “only if the Senate sees and hears all relevant evidence-only if it insists upon the whole truth-can it render impartial justice.”

“A trial where there’s no evidence, no existing record, and no new evidence, no witnesses, no documents. That’s not a trial at all, it’s a cover-up,” said Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

The debate on witnesses coming later in the trial and it likely will come down to four moderate Republicans, like Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who says she is open to hearing additional witnesses, like former National Security Advisor John Bolton.

Senator Murkowski added that she’s “takes her Constitutional responsibilities very, very, seriously.”

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