David Schoen, the attorney for former President Donald Trump, responded to criticisms from Republicans over the legal team’s defense presentation during the first day of the Senate impeachment trial on Tuesday, as reported by USA Today. Schoen acknowledged the need for improvement, saying they “have to do better next time.”
The lawyer responded to comments made by Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, who said the team of Schoen and Bruce Castor are “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, who went on to praise the prosecution’s case — which used video clips from the violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 and Trump’s words before and during — as “focused.”
The Louisiana senator was one of six Republicans who voted alongside Democrats to deem the impeachment as constitutional and move forward with the trial. The other Senate Republicans to vote alongside Democrats were Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. On Tuesday, Trump’s defense team put forth the argument that since Trump is no longer in office, the trial would be unconstitutional. The prosecution team of House Democrats cited historical and legal precedent to oppose their claims.
During a conversation with reporters, Schoen said that while he had not yet spoken to the former president, he did not expect the team to make any adjustments. Castor echoed the sentiment, describing the presentation on Tuesday as a “good day.”
Several prominent Republicans in the Senate did not share Castor’s positivity. While Collins was complimentary of Schoen, she said that she was left “perplexed” by Castor’s presentation and remained unclear on what argument he was trying to make.
Even Republicans who ended up voting that the trial was unconstitutional and are supporters of Trump struggled to compliment the arguments from his legal team. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina acknowledged that it took the lawyers a long time to reach the “meat of the question,” while Sen. John Cornyn of Texas described the presentation as “not one of the finest I’ve seen.”
Wednesday will see the opening arguments of the Senate impeachment trial. The prosecuting House Democrats will continue to introduce video clips from the events at the Capitol, some of which have not been seen before. The defense team is expected to argue that Trump’s comments were protected under the First Amendment.