On Tuesday, the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump began, and the former president received some good news and bad. The good (for him): Though the Senate voted to proceed with a trial, only six Republicans were officially on-board. That leaves 44 from the GOP, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have his back and are unlikely to budge. The bad news is his two lawyers were roundly criticized for their rambling opening statements, and not only by Democrats — Republicans and, reportedly, Trump himself thought they were terrible, too.
As per CNN, Trump was “deeply unhappy” with the performance of attorney David Castor Jr., and for good reason: For one thing, he actually admitted his client lost the election. According to multiple sources, he was “almost screaming” during the opening argument, which was called out as meandering and evasive, spending minutes on end praising the chamber’s lawmakers while not addressing the charges made by Senate Democrats.
Normally reporters wouldn’t have to rely on sources to hear about what allegedly makes Trump irate. Thing is, he was permanently suspended from Twitter, as well as much of social media, over a month ago.
Trump wasn’t alone in disapproving of his legal defense. Other Republicans were cheesed as well. “The House managers were focused. They were organized. They relied upon both precedent, the Constitution and legal scholars. They made a compelling argument. President Trump’s team were disorganized. They did everything they could but to talk about the question at hand,” said Louisiana senator Bill Cassidy, according to Politico. “And when they talked about it, they kind of glided over, almost as if they were embarrassed of their arguments.” (Cassidy was one of the few in his party who voted to go ahead with the trial.)
Meanwhile Susan Collins, the Republican senator from Maine who’s often criticized for her weak attempts at pushbacks against Trumpism, thought at least one of his two lawyers was okay. “I thought the first attorney for the president today did not present a case, which surprised me. Did not make any arguments,” said Collins, who also voted to move forward. But she felt David Schoen, his other attorney, “did a competent job.” She added, “I’m puzzled by the presentation of the first attorney.”
Even Sean Hannity didn’t entirely approve of Castor’s speech.
There’s a good reason why Trump’s impeachment lawyers got terrible reviews, including from their employer: His previous legal team up and quit on him less than a week before the trial began, reportedly because Trump wanted them to focus on his baseless accusations of voter fraud. But for now, it appears the GOP isn’t going to let lawyers who were roundly compared to the stage-fraught public defender from My Cousin Vinny get in the way of letting him get, as one Senator put it, a “Mulligan.”