Three Republican senators met with the legal defense team for former President Donald Trump in advance of the lawyers’ rebuttal of the charge that the ex-president incited an insurrection on the Capitol last month, according to multiple reports.
The news of the Thursday evening meeting, first reported by CNN, comes as the GOP trio, including Sens. Ted Cruz (TX), Lindsey Graham (SC) and Mike Lee (UT), ultimately prepare to cast a vote in deciding whether or not to convict a president to whom they’ve been a faithful ally.
According to CNN, the three lawmakers were seen entering a room at the U.S. Capitol that Trump’s lawyers were using to prepare for their arguments, which are set to begin on Friday.
Trump lawyer David Schoen told the publication that the senators were “very friendly guys” who wanted to ensure that the counsel was “familiar with procedure” on the eve of their rebuttal to the House impeachment managers’ presentation.
When asked if meeting with senators during the trial was appropriate, Schoen asserted that he believed it was “the practice of impeachment.”
“There’s nothing about this thing that has any semblance of due process whatsoever,” he told CNN.
Before House managers had even made their case, a number of Republican senators had already signaled their intention to acquit the former president.
On Tuesday, Lee told Fox News during an interview that Trump deserved “a mulligan.”
“Everyone makes mistakes, everyone is entitled to a mulligan once in a while,” Lee said at the time.
Graham similarly rebuffed the House managers case calling it “offensive and absurd,” in a Thursday tweet after preemptively dismissing their arguments as “looney tunes,” during a Fox News interview.
The Thursday meeting only seems to reinforce concerns that Trump’s allies in the Senate — in spite of being called on to render “impartial justice”– are willing to lend a hand to Trump’s attorneys in delivering their rebuttal after the team was widely-criticized by conservatives for what was deemed a poor performance on Tuesday.
Cruz who was a ring leader in Trump’s antidemocratic charade to stop Congress from affirming Biden’s electoral victory on Jan. 6, said the meeting with the Trump defense team was a chance for “sharing our thoughts” about the Trump team’s legal strategy.
Earlier this week the senator had called the trial a “waste of time,” and suggested its end result was “preordained.”
“I think the end result of this impeachment trial is crystal clear to everybody,” Cruz reaffirmed to CNN on Thursday when asked if he was satisfied with the strategy, adding: “Donald Trump will be acquitted.”