The ongoing impeachment trial of President Donald Trump is still in its early stages, but both sides have already had the chance to present their arguments. House Democrats spent three days on their opening statement, and Trump’s legal team wrapped up the first part of theirs in around two hours.
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia is impressed by the job Trump’s attorneys are doing. Speaking with reporters on Saturday, Manchin showered Trump’s legal team with praise, stating, “I thought they did a good job,” according to The Washington Examiner.
Even though Manchin acknowledged the Trump legal team’s successful opening, he still stressed that more witnesses need to be called in order to conduct a fair trial.
“They gave us a lot to think about, and I think it gives us more reasons why the one thing that stuck in my mind is they said that there wasn’t a witness that they’ve had so far that had direct contact with the president,” he said, adding that he would like to hear from former National Security Adviser John Bolton, and White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
When Manchin was asked whether Trump’s team of lawyers could convince him to vote to acquit the president, he once again praised them for doing a “good job,” leaving open the possibility of voting against articles of impeachment.
“I just think that we have to let this play out and see what [Trump’s legal team] is doing. They’re doing a good job of basically talking about and making me think about things that have been said,” he stressed.
According to Manchin, additional information is necessary in order to properly examine the case, and apart from approving additional witnesses, Trump and his Republican allies need to let the Senate see the redacted documents related to the case.
Vowing to be “impartial,” Manchin said that all senators need to keep an “open mind.”
As the Washington Examiner notes, the West Virginia senator frequently disagrees with his Democratic colleagues and sides with Republican senators. He was, for instance, the only Democrat who voted to confirm then-nominees Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
Some legal experts agree with Manchin’s assessment of the president’s attorneys. On Saturday, CNN’s legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin concluded that Trump and his Republican allies are “winning” the impeachment trial fight. According to the expert, White House lawyers offered a “persuasive” defense of their client.
House impeachment managers — led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff — made a number of slip-ups during their opening arguments, according to Toobin, which left the door open for Trump’s attorneys to gain an advantage and build a strong defense against Democratic accusations.