Analysts: White House counsel Cipollone snubs Rep. Nadler, scores major win for Trump’s legal team

White House counsel Pat Cipollone arrives at the Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial quickly burst into a partisan fight Tuesday as proceedings began unfolding at the Capitol. Democrats objected strongly to rules proposed by the Republican leader for compressed arguments and a speedy trial. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

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UPDATED 7:04 AM PT — Thursday, January 23, 2020

President Trump’s legal team marked its first major victory in the ongoing impeachment trial in an effort to sway public sympathies in favor of the president.

During debate on the impeachment case in the Senate Wednesday, White House counsel Pat Cipollone fiercely criticized House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler for making false allegations against President Trump.

This comes after Nadler accused the president and his attorneys of lying to the Senate. However, Cipollone said Nadler has shown disrespect for the legislative body.

“We’ve been respectful of the Senate,” he stated. “Mr. Nadler came up here and made false allegations against our team, he made false allegations against all of you, he accused you of a cover up.”

Impeachment manager Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., second from left, and other impeachment managers, walk to the Senate chamber with for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump at the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Chief Justice John Roberts called on trial participants to avoid using inappropriate language or manner of speech. Analysts say Cipollone’s rebuttal of Nadler could further erode the case for impeachment.

Additionally, Cipollone called out Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) for pushing false allegations regarding the Ukraine phone call. He pointed out how Schiff knowingly manufactured a fraudulent version of the call and read it to the American people. The White House counsel slammed the California Democrat for the ultimate lack of transparency.

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Gohmert tears into Nadler over Dems’ treatment of counsel: ‘How much money do you have to give?’

closeGohmert, Nadler and Johnson spar over Democratic counsel's questioning of Republican counselVideo

Gohmert, Nadler and Johnson spar over Democratic counsel's questioning of Republican counsel

Gohmert, Nadler and Johnson spar over Democratic counsel's questioning of Republican counsel

Rep. Louie Gohmert, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, infuriated Chairman Jerrold Nadler during Monday's impeachment hearing into President Trump, after he appeared to suggest a counsel for the Democrats had given money to members of the party in order to serve in a role of both witness and questioner.

The Judiciary Committee Democrats' counsel Barry Berke, a high-powered defense lawyer, was seated on the dais near Nadler, D-N.Y., asking questions of Republican counsel Stephen Castor in a move that Gohmert, R-Texas, called "unprecedented."

Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., initially interrupted Berke's questioning to make a formal "parliamentary inquiry" to Nadler about what Berke was being allowed to do.

Instead, Nadler slammed his gavel and told Johnson he was unable to make an inquiry. "Mr. Chairman, what is this?" Johnson asked, looking incredulously at the chairman as the New Yorker slammed his gavel.

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At that point, Gohmert himself interjected and accused Nadler of ignoring committee rules to have Berke ask questions of the other party's counsel and take the witness stand as he had earlier in the day.

"How many other rules are you just going to disregard?" Gohmert asked Nadler.

The Democrat slammed his gavel again and told Gohmert he was not acting "in order."

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Gohmert ignored the reprimand and continued with his objection:

"This is not appropriate to have a witness be a questioner of somebody that was a witness when he was. It's just wrong… There is no rule nor precedent for anybody being a witness and then getting to come up and question — The 'point of order' is [whether Berke] is inappropriate to be up here asking questions," the Republican continued as Nadler repeatedly tried to gavel him down.

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Nadler again slammed his gavel, telling Gohmert that Berke was acting in accordance with House Resolution 660 — the framework of rules for the impeachment hearings that the House passed earlier this year.

In turn, Gohmert argued with Nadler: "How much money do you have to give to get to do th–?" The question incensed the chairman — who slammed the gavel once more, then turned and scowled at Gohmert.

"The gentleman will not cast aspersions on members or staff of the committee," Nadler fumed. "Mr. Berke has the time. Mr. Berke has the time."

During the ensuing furious crosstalk, an unidentified Republican member asked Nadler point-blank: "Is Mr. Berke a member of the committee?"

At that point, Johnson spoke up again, telling Nadler that Berke simply was offering his "opinions" rather than "material facts in the report" compiled by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

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Nadler then leaned back to confer with an aide, then responded to Johnson and Gohmert: "The gentleman (Berke) has been designated by me to do this questioning pursuant to House Resolution 660… it is in accordance in the rules of the House."

Berke then continued with his questioning of Castor.

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Gaetz to Dem counsel: ‘We want Schiff in the chair! Not you!’

closeHouse Judiciary Committee holds hearing on Trump impeachment inquiryVideo

House Judiciary Committee holds hearing on Trump impeachment inquiry

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., upbraided Democratic Intelligence Counsel Dan Goldman on Monday to demand that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., take the stand to testify in the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

“We want Schiff in the chair! Not you!” Gaetz said to Goldman.

Gaetz’s pronouncement, which interrupted the questioning by the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Doug Collins of Georgia, drew strong condemnation from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., who warned the Florida lawmaker that interruptions would not be tolerated.

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“You’ve been warned before,” Nadler said after slamming the gavel. “You cannot simply yell out.”

Gaetz’s call to have Schiff testify has been echoed by many other Republican lawmakers on the Judiciary Committee.

Collins grills Goldman: Biden only one who committed quid pro quoVideo

“Where’s Adam? Where’s Adam?” Collins asked rhetorically to Goldman during his questioning. “It’s his report.”

Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released earlier this month a 300-page report stating that Trump seriously misused the power of his office for personal political gain by seeking foreign intervention in the American election process and obstructed Congress by stonewalling efforts to investigate.

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The report did not render a judgment on whether Trump’s actions stemming from a July 25 phone call with Ukraine's president rise to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors," warranting impeachment. That is for Congress to decide. But it details “significant misconduct" by the president that the House Judiciary Committee will begin to assess Wednesday.

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"The evidence that we have found is really quite overwhelming that the president used the power of his office to secure political favors and abuse the trust American people put in him and jeopardize our security,” Schiff said at the time of the release.

Schiff added: “Americans need to understand that this president is putting his personal political interests above theirs. And that it's endangering the country."

Fox News’ Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Impeachment tensions flare: Dem counsel says Trump abused power, as GOP rips ‘rubber stamp’ hearing

closeHouse Judiciary Committee holds hearing on Trump impeachment inquiryVideo

House Judiciary Committee holds hearing on Trump impeachment inquiry

The House Judiciary Committee heard the impeachment inquiry’s official findings during an unruly hearing Monday, with lawyers from both parties sparring in blunt terms over whether President Trump indeed abused his power in his dealings with Ukraine as committee members repeatedly clashed over a process Republicans decried as a "rubber stamp."

The hearing — which consisted of lawyers for both parties essentially making their closing arguments, including by showing video clips of key statements from witnesses, Trump and others — comes as the committee is expected to vote in the coming days on articles of impeachment against Trump.

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“The evidence is overwhelming that the president abused his power,” Barry Berke, the counsel for Judiciary Committee Democrats said, explicitly alleging that Trump tied military aid to investigations he wanted Ukraine to carry out for his personal political benefit.

Berke showed various video clips of testimony from prior witnesses, including from Ukraine top diplomat Bill Taylor and former NSC official Dr. Fiona Hill, as well as clips of comments made by Trump.

But Stephen Castor, the counsel for House Judiciary Republicans, denied the Democrats' characterization of Trump's July call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, saying, “To impeach a president, who 63 million people voted for, over eight lines in a call transcript is baloney.”

"There is simply no clear evidence that President Trump acted with malicious intent in withholding a meeting or security assistance," Castor said.

Painting the inquiry as politically driven above all else, Castor referenced reported focus groups convened by Democrats, accusing them of testing whether quid pro quo, bribery, or extortion "were more compelling to sell to the American public."

Tensions immediately flared as the hearing began Monday morning, with a demonstrator being removed by Capitol Police after yelling at Democratic Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. Republican lawmakers also repeatedly sparred with Nadler over their desire for a minority hearing where Republicans could call their own witnesses – something he has not granted. The partisan parliamentary battles over obscure points of order escalated from there.

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In his opening statement, Nadler argued that “every fact” from the anonymous whistleblower who ignited the probe by filing a complaint about Trump’s conversation with the leader of Ukraine over desired investigations this summer has been substantiated by the Democratic-led investigation.

"The evidence shows that Donald J. Trump, the president of the United States, has put himself before his country. He has violated his most basic responsibilities to the people,” Nadler said. “He has broken his oath. I will honor mine. If you would honor yours, then I urge you to your duty.”

Rep. Jerry Nadler: 'President Trump put himself before country'Video

Republicans opened the hearing by saying Democrats have long been motivated by a desire to remove Trump from office even before Trump’s phone call this summer with the president of Ukraine. GOP Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the committee, said Democrats have turned the Judiciary Committee into "a rubber stamp" for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Intelligence Committee Democratic Chairman Adam Schiff.

“Where is the impeachable offense?” Collins said, adding, “This may be known as the focus group impeachment.”

Rep. Collins: Where's the impeachable offense? Why are we here?Video

Republicans on the committee repeatedly made procedural objections. Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., called for a point of order requesting Nadler schedule a minority day hearing. Nadler said that that is not the purpose of Monday's hearing and that he was considering Collins' and Republicans' request.

The White House on Monday fought back against the hearing, accusing Democrats of having “had their minds made up about impeachment since November 8, 2016” – when Trump was first elected.

Democrats say Trump's push to have Ukraine investigate rival Joe Biden and issues related to the 2016 election while at the same time withholding U.S. military aid ran counter to U.S. policy and benefited Russia. It’s unclear what articles of impeachment will be sought by Democrats, but it could result in impeachment charges of abuse of power, bribery and obstruction.

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As Democrats draft the articles, Pelosi's challenge will be to go broad enough to appease her liberal flank, which prefers a more robust accounting of Trump's actions reaching back to Mueller's findings, while keeping the charges more tailored to Ukraine as centrist lawmakers prefer. Democratic leaders will meet later Monday evening.

The hearing sets off a pivotal week as Democrats march toward a full House vote expected by Christmas. In drafting the articles of impeachment, Pelosi is facing a legal and political challenge of balancing the views of her majority while hitting the constitution's bar of "treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors."

Trump and his allies acknowledge he likely will be impeached in the Democratic-controlled House, but they also expect acquittal next year in the Senate, where Republicans have the majority. Trump's team is turning attention elsewhere, including Monday's release of a long-awaited Justice Department report into the 2016 Russia investigation.

A vote to convict in the Senate requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate, where Republicans hold 53 of 100 seats. It is unlikely that any Republican senators would cross party lines and vote to remove Trump from office.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram, Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article