Rep. Jim Jordan Previews Trump Defense In Impeachment Trial: 'Facts Are On The President's Side'

Jan 23, 2020
Originally published on January 23, 2020 1:32 pm

Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio says the president's legal team plans to present "key facts" that prove President Trump should not be removed from office.

Jordan is one of eight House lawmakers who are part of Trump’s defense team in the Senate impeachment trial.

"The Trump defense team will present the facts," he says, "and the facts are all on the president's side."

He says the team plans to talk about the "unconstitutional nature of the two articles" — which charges Trump with abuse of power and obstructing Congress. He says the defense will also discuss "the lack of due process that took place in the House of Representatives."

So far, House impeachment managers are their second day of formal opening statements. On Wednesday, Rep. Adam Schiff outlined the charges against Trump — which include abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — and pressed for the need for new witnesses and evidence. The Senate is set to reconvene Thursday afternoon.

Interview Highlights

On how the Trump defense team may respond to the Democrat's evidence in the Senate impeachment trial

"The Trump defense team will present the facts and the facts are all on the president's side. They'll also talk about the unconstitutional nature of the two articles, and I also believe they will discuss the lack of due process that took place in the House of Representatives.

"The president was denied just any measure of, any semblance of due process — he wasn't allowed to have lawyers present during the witness deposition, he wasn't allowed to cross-examine. Republicans couldn't subpoena any of the witnesses we wanted so, that'll be part of the case as well. But primarily it's going to be, I think, pointing out the fact that the key facts are all on the president's side."

On whether the president did anything wrong

"Well, look, aid was not ultimately held. It was paused for a few days when the president was checking out to make sure that this new guy, this former TV personality who just got elected and whose party had just taken over their parliament to see if he was legit, if he was a genuine reformer as he campaigned to be, and over that time the president became convinced because senior U.S. officials met with President Zelenskiy — we had U.S. senators, we had the vice president, we had the head of the NSC — all meet with President Zelenskiy in that 55-day period when the aid was on hold and they all said, you know what, we think … he's the real deal."


On whether it's OK for the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political rival

"You're missing the four key facts. The four key facts are, we have the call transcript, tell me where the quid pro quo was. It wasn't there. The two individuals who were on the call, who talked to each other, have repeatedly said … In fact the very next day, President Zelenskiy in a previously-scheduled meeting, the very next day, the call's on the 25, the very next day, the July 26, President Zelenskiy meets with ambassadors Volker, Sondland and Taylor in Kyiv, and guess what he said — the call was great, the call was fine, had a great call with the president of the United States. No pressure, no linkage, no pushing. He repeatedly says that there was none of that. Third, Ukrainians didn't even know aid was on hold at the time of the call, so how could there be pressure, how could there be a favor, how could we say if you want the aid you gotta do X — they didn't even know aid was on hold at the time. And most importantly, tell me when they started the investigation. Tell me when they promised to start the investigation. Tell me when they announced they were thinking about the investigation. It never happened. So this idea that somehow there was a quid pro quo … To have a quid pro quo, something has to happen. They never made the announcement, they never started an investigation, and they never promised to start an investigation and guess what, they got the meeting with the president, they got the money, and they got the phone call ... The Democrats just don't want to look at the facts."


On whether there should be witnesses

"I think the trial should have been done already. I think that a motion to dismiss, a motion to acquit up front, would have been the appropriate measure. The Senate, we're going to hear from both sides, let them present their arguments and then take the questions. At that point, there'll be a decision made whether they'll be witnesses or not. That'll be up to the United States Senate. I think once they see all the facts — as we've just talked about in a brief way here — but once they see all the facts laid out, I think that they'll, I hope, that there won't be witnesses called. But if you do, if you go down that road, if you start down the witness road, then you got to go all the way down it. You can't just say, 'Oh, the prosecution can call their witnesses but the president can't call witnesses he might want.' So if we're going to start down that road, I think you got to go all the way down it."

Lynn Menegon produced and edited this interview for broadcast with Kathleen McKenna. James Perkins Mastromarino, Allison Hagan and Serena McMahon adapted it for the web.

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