Kenneth Starr to Senate: 'Close This Chapter'

He says Trump charges should be dismissed because president did not commit a crime
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2020 12:19 PM CST
Updated Jan 27, 2020 8:19 PM CST
Impeachment Trial: Trump Defense Resumes
In this 2019 file photo, Attorney Alan Dershowitz leaves federal court in New York.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

(Newser) – The second day of President Trump's defense in his impeachment trial included a big new wrinkle in the form of John Bolton. The former national security adviser's upcoming book reportedly alleges that Trump directly linked Ukraine aid to an investigation of the Bidens, a development that is raising calls for Bolton to be called as a witness. That won't be decided until after Trump's defense team has finished its arguments, which will probably be Tuesday. Coverage:

  • Big name: Kenneth Starr, a member of Trump's legal team, told senators the charges should be dismissed because Trump did not commit an actual crime, reports the Washington Post. He said that was not true in the impeachment of Bill Clinton, in which Starr played a key role. “The nation’s most recent experience, the Clinton impeachment—even though severely and roundly criticized—charged crimes,” he said. After faulting the House for passing these new articles of impeachment, he added: “I respectfully submit that the Senate should close this chapter, this idiosyncratic chapter, on this increasingly disruptive act."
  • Dershowitz, too: Another big name on Trump's team, Alan Dershowitz, talked about why he changed his mind about what an impeachable offense is, per CNN. In Clinton's case, Dershowitz said he didn't much research on the matter, accepting the consensus on what he thought of as a side issue. But this case "directly raises the issue of whether criminal behavior is required." So he revisited the historical evidence and decided the Constitution's framers didn't intend for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress to be grounds for removal.

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  • Rudy Giuliani: Trump lawyer Jane Raskin came to the defense of Giuliani, who called out her "masterful job" on Twitter. CNN reports she made the case that Democrats "exaggerated" his role in the Ukraine dealings. One line getting play: "In this trial, in this moment, Mr. Giuliani is just a minor player, that shiny object designed to distract you. Senators, I urge you most respectfully, do not be distracted."
  • Trump: Speaking to reporters at the White House on Monday, Trump called the new Bolton allegation "false," per the AP. He also said he has not read the manuscript of Bolton's memoir, which is currently under review by the National Security Council. The Guardian notes the NSC has had the manuscript since late December but says "no White House personnel outside NSC have reviewed" it.
  • A block? CNN reports that Republican leaders are working on a strategy to block Bolton's testimony, in case enough votes surface to call him. The argument is that the Senate is not obligated to look for new evidence to buttress articles of impeachment passed by the House.
(Read more Trump impeachment stories.)

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