WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. House managers on Friday wrapped up three days of opening arguments in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, detailing the president's resistance in making their case for the second article of impeachment -- "obstruction of Congress" -- on their final day.
Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democratic impeachment manager and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, summed up Trump’s conduct by telling senators: “You know it's not going to stop... It's not going to stop unless the Congress does something about it.”
The final late-evening gavel gave way for Trump’s team of lawyers to take the floor on Saturday to lay out their rebuttal – a day Trump griped was “Death Valley in T.V.” -- but was required under rules written by Senate Republicans.
The president’s defenders will be given 24 hours across three days (Saturday, Monday and Tuesday) to make their case before senators will be allowed to submit questions in writing.
As the trial continues, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds 66% of Americans surveyed believe the Senate should call witnesses. A vote on whether to subpoena additional witnesses or testimony is still days away.
Meantime, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer briefly commented on a recording reviewed by ABC News that captured President Trump telling associates he wanted the then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch fired. The recording seemingly contradicts previous statements made by the president.
"I do know that Yovanovitch was terribly treated," Schumer said at his Friday news conference.
But Trump’s lawyers said Friday they didn’t think the recording would have any impact on the case.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that Saturday's proceedings would begin at 10 a.m. ET/8 a.m. MT for an abbreviated session after sources said Trump's defense team's was concerned opening arguments may get buried over the weekend.
President Trump weighed in Friday with this tweet: "After having been treated unbelievably unfairly in the House, and then having to endure hour after hour of lies, fraud & deception by Shifty Schiff, Cryin' Chuck Schumer & their crew, looks like my lawyers will be forced to start on Saturday, which is called Death Valley in T.V."
Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow said the legal team planned to present arguments for only a few hours on Saturday, describing it as a “trailer” of “coming attractions.”
“Next week is when you’ll see the full presentation, but there’ll be plenty to see,” he told reporters on Capitol Hill.