Sure, but would Donald Trump’s legal team reject a motion to dismiss at this point? Jay Sekulow, lead attorney for the defense, says he “I don’t rule out anything,” but this sounds very much like marching orders for his client. Trump has champed at the bit to go on the attack ever since the House began its Ukraine-Gate impeachment, which is why Sekulow insisted last night at the end of the first day of the House presentment, “We want to try our case.”
And he’ll get the chance … tomorrow night, maybe, or Saturday sometime:
Jay Sekulow, President Trump’s lawyer, said after today’s trial that he is prepared to point out errors in the presented case against the president: “At the end of the day I believe without question the President of the United States will be acquitted” https://t.co/hoTTT8ESmN pic.twitter.com/k4EOkiHnCu
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 23, 2020
“I want to let them try their case, and we want to try our case because we believe without a question the president will be acquitted,” he told reporters. “There is not a doubt.
“Those of you who know me know I don’t rule out anything. … The way the procedures are set up, at this point, here’s what I believe is going to happen: It looks like they’re going to spend tomorrow and Friday. And then I suspect that we’ll start on Saturday, and then we’ll go probably another day or two,” Sekulow continued when asked if he was ruling out the motion to dismiss.
The indication from Trump’s legal team that it will not try to dismiss the articles comes after Senate Republicans did not include a built-in motion to dismiss in their rules resolution. The Clinton rules, unlike the current resolution, included language to force a motion to dismiss after opening arguments and questions from senators.
Actually, does this comes from Trump? He has spent most of the last three months demanding a forum to make his rebuttal case, but Trump has sent out contradictory signals on this lately. Less than two weeks ago, The Hill points out, Trump tweeted in support of a dismissal rather than contest the House’s impeachment:
Many believe that by the Senate giving credence to a trial based on the no evidence, no crime, read the transcripts, “no pressure” Impeachment Hoax, rather than an outright dismissal, it gives the partisan Democrat Witch Hunt credibility that it otherwise does not have. I agree!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2020
Sekulow is making a virtue out of a necessity in this case. The Hill also notes in the same article that Senate Republicans don’t have the votes to carry a dismissal vote, mindful of the need to at least follow form in the high-stakes forum of an impeachment:
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told reporters after Trump’s comments that the Senate Republican caucus doesn’t have the votes to dismiss the articles.
“I think our members generally are not interested in a motion to dismiss. … Certainly there aren’t 51 votes for a motion to dismiss,” Blunt, the No. 4 Senate Republican, told reporters after a closed-door leadership meeting.
This is mostly theater in another sense. To quote a celebrated American politician on the futility of accountability, “What difference at this point does it make?” House Democrats had three months to themselves to make a very public case for impeachment, and they have the Senate floor for three full days unopposed to amplify it. To dismiss now would be pointless. The only advantage Trump has is still ahead of him, in the control Senate Republicans can exercise in a trial and in the uninterrupted rebuttal case his legal team can present with the media forced to cover it.
Why bail out before that point? And why bail out at all, when the outcome of this threadbare case is already beyond doubt? Trump wants to make his case, which is both reasonable and within form, and then the Senate can acquit him, which is the outcome House Democrats knew they’d get when they set out to impeach Trump over a delay in Ukraine aid. No need to interrupt the predictable unfolding of this nonsense.