Speed Reads

impeachment round 2

Trump's lawyers argue Democrats impeached him both too slow and too fast

Former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial began Tuesday with a debate over the constitutionality of the trial and his impeachment in the first place. And in their attempt to dismiss the trial entirely, Trump's lawyers claimed the whole process was moving along both too quickly and too slowly.

Trump lawyer David Schoen followed Bruce Castor's wide-ranging argument on Tuesday, at one point arguing that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) "streamlined the impeachment process" to let it go "straight to the floor for a vote without the ability for amendments." There were "no committee hearings, no witnesses, no cross-examination of evidence, and no opportunity for the accused to respond or even have counsel present to object," he said.

But within seconds, Schoen changed his tune. The House's argument that a speedy impeachment was necessary "was belied by what happened next," Schoen said. "The House unilaterally and by choice waited another twelve days" to send its impeachment article to the Senate, he continued, and "that intentional delay [was] designed to avoid having the trial begin while Mr. Trump was still president."

Beyond his contradiction, Schoen also mischaracterized just how the Senate trial was set up. Then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was the only one able to bring the Senate back from recess in late January for an emergency session to consider Trump's impeachment before he left office. But McConnell refused to do so to give Trump more time to organize his defense — the exact "due process" Schoen argued Democrats stripped the former president of. Likewise, the House impeachment managers specifically requested Trump testify at his trial, but he turned them down.