Former Watergate Prosecutor Advises Democrats to Keep Impeachment Trial Short: ‘First Witness I Would Call is Donald J. Trump’
Former Special Assistant Watergate Prosecutor Nick Akerman told CNN’s Ana Cabrera that his advice for Senate Democrats is to keep former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial short and succinct, and to call Trump as the first witness.
Cabrera started the discussion by mentioning that all five of Trump’s announced defense counsel had parted ways with him, less than two weeks before the trial is scheduled to begin, “because according to a source he wanted them to argue that the election was in fact stolen,” and asking for Akerman’s reaction.
Akerman replied that the lawyers seemed to have made the right decision. “I mean, any ethical lawyer, any lawyer who follows the ethics is not going to argue something that is a totally false statement, that is that Trump won the election.” Akerman was skeptical that any new counsel the former president brought on would make any difference “because at the end of the day the person who calls the shots is Donald Trump.”
“Nick, we understand Democrats are considering a short trial, maybe lasting just a few days. What do you think of that strategy?” asked Cabrera.
Akerman called that approach “absolutely spot on,” adding that he believed the trial presentation needed to be “compelling” and “succinct.”
“If I were in charge of this, the first witness I would call is Donald J. Trump,” Akerman explained. “And I would make most of the case through him while he is on the witness stand. I would question him about all of the lies, put up the videos of his lies, the tweets of his lies.”
Akerman added that he would also question Trump about the dozens of judges across the country — especially the ones he appointed — who had found there was no fraud, no evidence to overturn any of the states’ election results, as well as asking him detailed questions about the timeline on January 6, who he was calling and why.
“I think it is really important the Democrats put him up on the stand and go through the evidence with him because I don’t think he can answer these questions. By the time he gets through this examination, he’s going to look like the liar that he is.”
In Akerman’s view, questioning Trump was the Democrats’ best chance at presenting a “compelling case, something that shakes up this trial immediately” in a way that could convince Republicans to vote for conviction. Assuming that all Democrats vote for conviction, an additional 17 Republicans will need to cross party lines.
“And the only way to do that is to call the man himself. He has no reason not to testify. He can’t claim the Fifth amendment for not showing up. He can assert his Fifth amendment privilege as to specific questions. But he certainly has to show up if he is subpoenaed.”
Watch the video above, via CNN.
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