‘I’ll have to do better next time,’ Trump attorney says after Republican criticism of impeachment opening
WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump’s attorney David Schoen said he would “have to do better next time” after several Republican senators criticized Monday’s presentation by Trump’s legal team, with one calling them “disorganized” and some instead praising the case made by Democratic impeachment managers.
Schoen said he thought the House managers “did a good job” and acknowledged the criticisms made by some, including Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., that their arguments didn’t stick.
“I’m sorry he felt that way,” Schoen said of Cassidy’s critiques. “I’ll have to do better next time.”
Cassidy was one of six Republican senators who voted Monday to deem the impeachment trial constitutional and move forward with the proceedings. The Senate is debating whether to convict Trump for inciting the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. Trump’s lawyers had argued it would be unconstitutional to go forward with the trial because Trump was no longer in office, whereas House prosecutors, known as managers, argued the opposite based on historical and legal precedent.
The Louisiana Republican praised the House managers’ case as “focused” and “organized,” but said Trump’s team was “disorganized” and “did everything they could but to talk about the question at hand.”
“Now if I’m an impartial juror, and one side is doing a great job, and the other side is doing a terrible job, on the issue at hand, as an impartial juror, I’m going to vote for the side that did the good job,” Cassidy said.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said she was “stunned” by the presentation by Trump’s first attorney to present, Bruce Castor, and could not figure out where his argument was going. She said Schoen “did a better job” but Castor’s arguments were a “missed opportunity.”
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Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said Schoen made his arguments “very well,” but Castor’s arguments “perplexed” her, and it seemed to her the attorney “did not seem to make any arguments at all.”
A close Trump ally, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., conceded it “took a long time” for Trump’s lawyers to get to the “meat of the question.”
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a former member of Senate Republican leadership, said Castor “rambled on and on and on and didn’t really address the constitutional argument.”
“I’ve seen a lot of lawyers and a lot of arguments and that was… not one of the finest I’ve seen,” he said.
Schoen told reporters he did not think there would be any adjustments after today’s proceedings but had yet to speak to Trump.
Castor, on the other hand, called Monday’s arguments a “good day” and said he did not expect any changes to Trump’s legal team.