Speed Reads

impeachment round 2

GOP senators criticize Trump lawyer's performance: 'A missed opportunity'

Former President Donald Trump's impeachment lawyer Bruce Castor stunned several Republican lawmakers with his performance on Tuesday — and not in a good way.

During the defense's opening remarks, Castor rambled. He praised the senators as "patriots" and "extraordinary people," called Nebraska "quite a judicial thinking place," and said if Trump did commit high crimes and misdemeanors, he should be arrested immediately by the Justice Department.

When it was over, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) told reporters he has seen "a lot of lawyers and a lot of arguments," and Castor's "was not one of the finest I've seen." He said Trump's lawyer "just rambled on and on and didn't really address the constitutional argument."

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) called Castor's remarks "a missed opportunity," and said she "couldn't figure out where he was going — [he] spent 45 minutes going somewhere, but I don't think he helped with us better understanding where he was coming from on the constitutionality of this."

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of Trump's staunchest supporters, was asked by reporters if he agreed with Murkowski. "Well, I think I — I thought I — I really didn't know — I thought I knew where he was going," he responded. "And I really didn't know where he was going." It didn't matter though, Graham added, because "nobody's mind was changed one way or the other."

There was one Republican who appeared to be swayed — after hearing from both sides, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) joined Murkowski, four other Republicans, and all the Democrats to vote in favor of proceeding with the trial. Last month, he voted no during a test vote on the same issue.