Several Republican senators on Tuesday panned former President Donald Trump’s impeachment defense team, calling their arguments that his trial was unconstitutional rambling and incoherent.
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), the only Republican to change his opinion and join a small group of GOP colleagues who voted in favor of the trial’s constitutionality, told reporters Trump’s team was “disorganized” and did “a terrible job.”
“They did everything they could but to talk about the question at hand, and when they talked about it, they kind of glided over it, almost as if they were embarrassed of their arguments,” Cassidy said, calling the Trump team’s approach “random.”
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) blasts Trump's legal team after voting to move impeachment trial forward: "It was disorganized, random. They talked about many things but they didn’t talk about the issue at hand.” pic.twitter.com/Zpa8esfKIM
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) February 9, 2021
It certainly was: Bruce Castor, the first Trump attorney to speak, addressed everything from the mechanics of record players to the quality of the late Sen. Everett Dirksen’s (R-IL) voice before getting to the issue at hand.
Another Republican who voted with Democrats, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), told reporters that she was “really stunned at the first attorney who presented for former President Trump,” Castor.
“I couldn’t figure out where he was going, spent 45 minutes going somewhere,” the senator said, according to a Capitol Hill pool report. “I don’t think he helped with us better understanding where he was coming from on the constitutionality of this.”
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who also voted that the trial was constitutional, said she was “perplexed by the first attorney, who did not seem to make any arguments at all, which was an unusual approach to take,” according to a pool report.
Even senators who voted for the Trump lawyers’ argument thought they did poorly.
“I don’t think the lawyers did the most effective job,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) told reporters, according to a pool report.
House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), by contrast, was “impressive,” Cruz said. “He’s a serious lawyer.”
“The President’s lawyer, the first lawyer, just rambled on and on and on and didn’t really address the constitutional argument,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), according to a pool report.
“Finally the second lawyer got around to it and, I thought, did an effective job. But I’ve seen a lot of lawyers and a lot of arguments and that was not one of the finest I’ve seen.”
This post has been updated.