Impeachment Day 8 – Questions Anyone?

Impeachment Day 8 - Questions Anyone?

( – On Wednesday, the impeachment proceedings began the question-and-answer phase. Since the beginning of the trial, Senators have not been allowed to speak. Instead, they sat in silence, taking notes on what they heard. Now that’s all changed, they were finally able to start asking questions.

The senators were not allowed to ask the questions themselves. Instead, they wrote them down, gave them to Chief Justice John Roberts and he read them out loud. Roberts reviewed the questions before the session began and he said he would not read the name of the whistleblower.

The Q&A session will last up to 16 hours, split between two days.

Trump’s Team Responds to Senators

  • Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) asked how long the trial would last if witnesses were allowed to speak. Attorney Jay Sekulow said the trial will go on for “a long time.” Republicans will not like that answer.
  • Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) asked if the House rendered its obstruction of Congress charge invalid because they refused to enforce their subpoenas. Trump’s attorney Patrick Philbin responded, “The answer is yes.”

He was also asked to describe why the House committees’ subpoenas were invalid, and he explained that the full House never voted on them:

  • Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME) want to know if Trump ever mentioned Hunter and Joe Biden to former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko or any of his staff before the elder Biden entered the presidential race. Their question was not answered directly.
  • Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) wanted to know if quid pro quos were used in foreign policy often. Attorney Alan Dershowitz confirmed they were and, “If a president does something that he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo” that he can be impeached for.

House Managers Answer Questions

There were many questions asked of both the House managers and Trump’s lawyers during the first part of the Q&A session. Here are some of the questions asked of the House managers:

  • Bernie Sanders (D-VT) asked why lawmakers should believe anything President Trump has to say when the media has documented he’s lied more than 16,000 times since taking office. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) responded:

“Well, I’m not quite sure where to begin with that question except to say that, if every defendant in a trial could be exonerated just by denying the crime, there would be no trial.”

  • Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS), Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) want to know if Joe Biden worked with the whistleblower on anything, including Ukraine issues. Schiff said his office did not coordinate with the whistleblower and called it a “conspiracy theory.”
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) asked House managers to respond to Dershowitz’s assertion that quid pro quos are normal tactics used in foreign policy. Schiff said the argument gives any president “carte blanche” to work in their own self-interest, not for the good of the country.

What’s Next

Thursday will bring more questions from senators. Rand Paul (R-KY), who reportedly tried all day to ask a question that would name the whistleblower, will probably continue trying to get it into the record. Expect some fireworks during the breaks.

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