Impeachment Briefing: The House Prepares to Vote

“This is always what he does. This was inevitable,” she said of Mr. Trump’s comments today. “When he gives some kind of concession, as he did in that video last week, he doesn’t get the praise he thought he would for it and worries he looks weak.”

Maggie walked me through two other unusual dynamics to help explain how Mr. Trump and the White are girding for this round of .

1. The legal team won’t be the same.

For the last impeachment, Mr. Trump was represented by Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel, and two other top White House lawyers. Outside lawyers — Jay Sekulow and Marty and Jane Raskin, who defended him in the Mueller investigation — also joined the effort. This time around, Mr. Trump won’t have any help from that group.

“My sense is that people don’t want to do this,” Maggie said. “There is just widespread anger at him over what took place, internally.”

In the last impeachment, Maggie added, “a majority of them genuinely believed that there was an overreach even if they were uncomfortable with the language of the call,” referring to Mr. Trump’s conversation with Ukraine’s president. “Enough of them didn’t believe it was an impeachable offense.”

2. Rudy Giuliani, implicated in the riot, could be Mr. Trump’s lead lawyer in a trial.

Rudy Giuliani, who has spent months fanning baseless voter fraud accusations, arguably helped lead Mr. Trump to his first impeachment. He also played a role in the events leading up to last Wednesday’s riot, telling the gathering of Trump supporters that it was time for “trial by combat.” That would put him in the unusual position of defending his client against charges he arguably influenced with his own actions.

That Mr. Giuliani is still at Mr. Trump’s side is an indication of their long history, Maggie said.

“There are a couple of people who will have this grand pass with Donald Trump,” she said, “and he’s one of them.”


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