As House Democrats concluded their case Thursday against former president Donald Trump, Republican Senators Lindsey Graham, Mike Lee, and Ted Cruz met privately with Trump’s defense team to discuss the status of the former president’s case.
It’s the defense’s turn to take to the Senate floor on Friday, arguing against House prosecutors that last month’s deadly attack on the US Capitol was incited by Trump. Trump’s acquittal is expected, as two-thirds of an evenly-divided Senate must vote to convict the former president.
Graham, Lee, and Cruz were all seen entering a room to meet with Trump’s attorneys after the Senate trial adjourned.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to reporters after leaving a roughly 70 minute meeting with Donald Trump’s impeachment lawyers:— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) February 11, 2021
“See you tomorrow.”
Ted Cruz and Mike Lee were also spotted entering the meeting shortly before 4:30 p.m. pic.twitter.com/vyuLzIvAAx
After the meeting, Trump lawyer David Schoen told reporters they were “just talking about procedure,” calling them “friendly guys.”
Senator Cruz later said that he was the one who suggested the meeting, which lasted about an hour. “I just wanted to sit down and say, OK, what are you looking to put forward and to share our thoughts in terms of where things are,” Cruz told Fox News Thursday night. He said he urged the defense team to focus on “legal standard.” While Democrats made their most graphic case to the American public, Trump’s lawyers and Republicans are focusing on legal rather than emotional or historic questions.
Schoen said the Senators did not tip him off to the questions they would be asking during Friday’s trial. They discussed “just how this format goes, you know, the question-and-answer period, all that,” Schoen said. “And then just talking about where they’re from and all that, but it’s just very nice. I said to them it was a great honor to have the opportunity to talk to them.”
In another interview Thursday, Schoen told Fox News that Trump was “very upbeat” three days into his second impeachment trial, and that he didn’t want to be associated with the violent insurrection. “He’s quite offended at trying to be tied to it,” Schoen said. He said he doesn’t believe the defense’s arguments on Friday will last long, and that it’s possible the trial could wrap up on Saturday.
“I think you will be moved by what you see,” Schoen said of what the defense will bring to the table.