CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin on Impeachment Trial: ‘The Republicans are Winning Here, the President is Winning Here’


CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin remarked more than once on Saturday, following the opening arguments from the White House defense team, that the President is “winning” in the Senate impeachment trial.

Anchor Wolf Blitzer went to chief legal analyst Toobin first as Saturday’s session closed, suggesting that what the White House lawyers presented would be helpful to any “wavering” Republican senators in deciding to avoid additional witnesses or evidence.

Toobin replied that he’s not sure there are any wavering Republicans, but said that “certainly there was information put forth today that would allow Republicans to vote against witnesses and to vote for an acquittal. I mean that’s what defense lawyers do.”

He addressed a specific point from one attorney on addressing when Ukraine knew aid was cut off, saying the attorney was “persuasive on that point.”

CNN’s Preet Bharara argued that the Trump team’s decision to go with a shorter, faster opening on Saturday was not a mistake but the wise move, with which Toobin agreed.

“If you’re winning, shut up,” said Toobin. “That’s I think a guiding principle of what they’re doing.”

A few minutes later, host Anderson Cooper brought up the question of why the Trump team didn’t make the case against Joe Biden or offer any alternative lines of attack, Toobin again essentially said that you don’t do that when you’re ahead.

“I just think, you know, the Republicans are winning here, the President is winning here,” he said. “As long as they don’t completely fall on their faces, which they’re all competent lawyers, they’re not gonna do that — I think that’s fine for them.”

Winning the impeachment trial would mean being acquitted, for which Trump likely has enough votes already. But Toobin didn’t just argue that he’s winning on those grounds, he also brought up specific arguments from the Trump team that he thought were good points. The first was with regard to when Ukraine knew aid was cut off, and again later in the segment on a point that involved the House impeachment managers such as Rep. Adam Schiff not addressing or mentioning things.

“They did make one good point about that I thought,” said Toobin. “The president did talk about burden sharing in that phone call, and the House managers didn’t focus on that or even mention it, and fair is fair.”

“That was, I thought, a very legitimate, good point made by the defense,” he said. “Whether that’s enough to overcome what else is in the transcript is a separate question.”

“This is what good lawyers do, you point to evidence that favors your case,” he said. “Whether it is the dispositive piece of evidence is of course a different question but, good for them.”

Watch the clips above, via CNN.

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