First, they walked out of the Impeachment Trial on Thursday as Impeachment Manager Ted Lieu began making the case that Donald Trump felt no remorse for his actions. As Lieu spoke to a tweet Trump had sent where he had “tagged his co-conspirators”, a total of fifteen GOP Senators began leaving the chamber. Later, after the closing statement from Lead Manager Jamie Raskin, three of those Senators were spotted going into a room in the US Capitol that Trump’s lawyers were using to prepare for their arguments.
Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Mike Lee of Utah met with Trump lawyer David Schoen, who said that the senators were “very friendly guys” who just wanted to make sure he and his co-counsel, Bruce Castor, were “familiar with procedure” on the eve of their defense to the House impeachment managers’ presentation.
When asked if it’s appropriate to meet with senators during the trial, Schoen said, “Oh yeah, I think that’s the practice of impeachment.”
Cruz said the meeting with the Trump defense team was an opportunity for “sharing our thoughts” about their legal strategy. Senate Republicans had harshly criticized the defense team on Tuesday, the opening day of the trial, arguing that Castor had delivered a rambling and unfocused argument in making the case that the proceedings are unconstitutional.
As a public defender, I couldn't even use the same bathroom as jurors during a trial. https://t.co/WvdjD2YM6d
— Eliza Orlins (@elizaorlins) February 12, 2021
Republican senators have already signaled that they will vote to acquit the former President of the charge of “incitement of insurrection,” preventing a subsequent vote on Trump’s political future. In a 50-50 Senate, the House impeachment managers — all of whom are Democrats — need to persuade 17 Republican senators to join every member of their party to convict Trump.
Today, 15 Republican Senators chose not to attend Trump's trial. They should be held in contempt of Congress.
Jurors in criminal trials cannot get up and leave the courtroom. If they did, they'd be held in contempt of court, and face possible fines and jail.
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) February 11, 2021