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As White House Prepares Defense, Senate Republicans Plan Speedy Trial

01-20-2020
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US Capitol Senate

The White House mounts a defense as it prepares for President Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate. 

It's the most detailed preview yet of the President's defense strategy. Lawyers plan to argue the two articles -- abuse of power and obstruction of Congress -- do not amount to impeachable offenses.

"If the allegations are not impeachable than this trial should result in an acquittal regardless of whether the conduct is regarded as ok by your or by me or by voters," Alan Dershowitz, professor emeritus at Harvard Law School told ABC's This Week.

Dershowitz, a self-proclaimed liberal Democrat with a limited role on Trump's defense team, says even if all arguments laid out by the House are accepted as fact, Trump should not be impeached. 

"When you have someone who indicted for a crime, let's assume you have evidence, but the grand jury indicts for something that is simply not a crime, and that's what happened here," he said. "You have a lot of evidence, disputed evidence that could go both ways, but that vote was to impeach on abuse of power which is not in the constitutional criteria for impeachment and obstruction of Congress.

Lead House Manager Adam Schiff isn't buying it.

"That's the argument I suppose you have to make if the facts are so dead set against you," he said.  

On page 3 of their own briefing released over the weekend – Democrats argue Trump's actions call for impeachment and removal. 

"Abuse of power is at the center of what the framer's intended an impeachable offense to be," Schiff said. 

Sunday night in Texas, President Trump blasted Democrats and the "impeachment scam."

"We're achieving what no administration has ever achieved before. And what do I get out of it? tell me. I get impeached," he told the crowd. 

On Tuesday, the Senate convenes at 1:00 pm to vote on the trial rules, and then phase one begins.  Each side will be given 24 hours to present their case while the Senate jury can only silently observe until they can submit written questions. 

This will be followed by 16 hours of questions from senators and answers from each side.  This will lead to a four-hour debate and a vote on whether the Senate will hear new witnesses or any new information. 

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