Donald Trump‘s impeachment defense team, which includes Alan Dershowitz, Kenneth Starr, and Pat Cipollone, has concluded its arguments against the prosecution, and the Senate will vote Friday on whether to hear from additional witnesses.
Ahead of the vote, Independent Justin Amash revealed his thoughts on the president’s defense team on Thursday.
“The president’s lawyers call our Constitution’s carefully prescribed impeachment process ‘massive election interference,’ but they consider the president’s abuse of power to benefit his re-election just another day at the office,” he tweeted.
Amash is referring to Cipollone’s response to the question of whether the Senate should reject Trump’s impeachment due to its partisan nature. According to Business Insider, Cipollone “mischaracterized the nature of impeachment” with his response, claiming that an impeachment taking place in an election year is equivalent to “canceling an election.”
“We’ve never been in a situation where we have the impeachment of a president in an election year, with the goal of removing the president from office,” he said. “That is the most massive election interference we’ve ever witnessed.”
Business Insider’s fact check noted that impeachment is a process designed to remove a president guilty of committing high crimes and misdemeanors, bribery, or treason. In the case of Trump, many — such as Amash — argue that Trump’s alleged leveraging of foreign aid for political benefit is an abuse of the power of his presidency.
“You look to whether his behavior involves abusing power, violating the public trust, or using his office for personal gain,” Amash said of the high crimes and misdemeanors charge that can form the basis of impeachment.
Deputy WH Counsel Patrick Philbin on if soliciting foreign info is a campaign finance violation:
"Mere information is not something that would violate the campaign finance laws … it's not campaign interference for credible information about wrongdoing to be brought to light." pic.twitter.com/IyKkvvbFO7
— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) January 30, 2020
Elsewhere on Thursday, Trump attorney Patrick Philbin responded to a question about whether Trump could take information from foreigners about political opponents. Per WFUV, he claimed that such an act is “not campaign interference” if the information is credible and pertaining to wrongdoing.
Democrats were not happy with the response. Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia said he was “flabbergasted” by Philbin’s response. He warned that it might incentivize foreign governments already reported to be attempting to interfere in the 2020 election.
Adam Schiff, the Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, claims that if Trump is not removed from office for his Ukraine behavior — especially after Philbin’s comment — the U.S. will face even more possible interference during the upcoming election.
According to Schiff, what Trump and his GOP allies call “policy” is tantamount to “interference.”
The Senate will vote on whether to hear from more witnesses on Friday. As The Inquisitr reported, Republican Sen. Rick Scott is hopeful that Trump will be acquitted by Friday night.