Of course the historic impeachment of President Donald Trump is big news, but many of us may be getting a little lost in all the legalese and obscure constitutional language. But it’s important to keep up, so turn to Buzzfeed News' world news editor Hayes Brown’s daily podcast, Impeachment Today, for help. He’ll be watching the proceedings closely, updating us regularly on what’s news and what’s just noise, and interviewing experts and journalists about their thoughts on the trial. Start with this episode, from the day the House voted to send the impeachment charges to the Senate, effectively kicking off the process. Though we’re days into the trial at this point, this podcast focuses on some characters who haven’t taken center stage yet: the president’s defense team.
To help him (and us) understand who these men are and what their defense strategy might be, Hayes calls in a lifeline: POLITICO reporter Darren Samuelson. He tells us about the White House Counsel, Pat Cipollone, who took over from Don McGahn after he became a witness in the Robert Mueller investigation. He’s been defending the president since 2018, and will deliver the opening arguments when it’s the defense’s turn to present their case; he was introduced to Trump in 2016 by Laura Ingraham, and back during the George H.W. Bush administration, he was an advisor to the attorney general, William Barr.
But he’s not the only one who will be defending Trump; while it’s highly unlikely that Rudy Giuliani will be on the floor, Trump will have his other personal attorney Jay Sekulow on the team. He became personal counsel to the president during the Mueller probe in 2017, and is “credited with helping keep Donald Trump from being nailed with a perjury charge in the Mueller investigation, because Donald Trump didn't have to sit under oath the way Bill Clinton did in the Monica Lewinsky, Paula Jones investigation.” He and Pat will probably tag-team Trump’s defense, in a similar way as Bill’s team did during his own impeachment trial. As far as a "West Wing TV moment" where Trump himself "storms onto the Senate floor," Darren's opinion is that it's not likely to happen. "But it could! So that's why we have to watch."
Listen to this episode of Impeachment Today to hear if there are any wild cards Darren thinks will surprise us, where each step of this process rates on the “Nixonometer” (“Zero is a normal day in a normal White House, and 10 is President Richard Nixon resigning and flying away in Marine One,” Hayes explains), and learn more about the background of the president’s defense team – and then keep an eye out for more episodes that cut through the noise and get to the heart of what really matters as this historic process takes place.
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