Toobin Bashes ‘White House and White People’; Wonders If Women Will Be ‘Allowed’ to Speak

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Despite the fact that the leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are all white, CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin attacked President Trump’s legal team for the Senate impeachment trial as “White House and white people” reflecting “the diversity of the two parties” compared to the House impeachment managers. 

Along with knocking the Trump lawyers as “not spell-binding,” “wandering in the wastelands,” and “weak,” Toobin also engaged in sexism by wondering if the women on team Trump will be “allowed to” speak.

 

 

Toobin’s humdinger came after the panel acknowledged their correct predictions that Rudy Giuliani was not going to be mentioned and then legal analyst Ross Garber noticing that, with the exception of Jay Sekulow, the lawyers that spoke Saturday were all official White House lawyers.

Out of nowhere, Toobin then lobbed his verbal grenades about the racial makeup of both sides and then the sexist slight against Pam Bondi and Jane Raskin:

White — White House and white people. I mean, you know, this is a lesson in the diversity of the two parties. I mean, you look at the House managers, it was almost evenly divided between men and women. It was — you had two African Americans, you had a Hispanic, I mean, you know, it was all white men today. There are two — two white women on — on allegedly on the team, we'll see if they're allowed to argue, but I mean, I think, you know, in a visual medium when you have one side that has a very diverse team and the other side that's all white men, that says something in and of itself.

Toobin left off seconds after the session ended by stating that their arguments were likely to keep Republicans from voting for witnesses even though they weren’t “spell-binding.”

Deputy White House counsel Matthews Pupura did receive rare praise as having done “a very good job” and “was persuasive” in “talking about one rather narrow issue, which is when the Ukrainians knew that the aid was cut off.”

With that exception, Toobin said things “deteriorated” with Sekulow “sort of wander[ing] in the wastelands of the Mueller report that didn't seem relevant” and Deputy Counsel Patrick Philbin not being particularly “spell-binding” either. 

In other words, they weren’t “dazzling” like lead House Impeachment Manager Adam Schiff (D-CA).

Toobin also argued to senior legal analyst Preet Bharara that the White House not using their allotted 24 hours because “if you’re winning, shut up” and “[t]hat’s I think the guiding principle of what they’re doing.”

There was also a dig at the Sunday talk shows (click “expand.”):

ANDERSON COOPER: It seemed to me Sunday talk shows seem to be important to President Trump. He certainly seems to have watch them and like to have his people on them. I would have thought going into those shows they would have made more of an argument on whether it’s the Bidens or whatever argument they want to — to push. 

TOOBIN: You know, I love me some Jake Tapper, but are the Sunday shows really that important? 

COOPER: He watches. 

TOOBIN: No to the world?

COOPER: No, I’m not saying to the world. I mean President Trump.

TOOBIN: I — I — it’s — it’s sort of mystifying that he’s so concerned — he’s so concerned about them. Again, I just think the Republicans are winning here. The President is winning here and as long as they don't, you know, completely fall on their faces, which they're all competent lawyers, they're not going to do that, I think that's fine for them. 

BHARARA: Look who was elected to speak. You know, the fact that the President of United States picked people like Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr and others who are somewhat flamboyant, Ken Starr, not so flamboyant but controversy because he’s known for the prior big case he presided over, those guys weren't up on the Senate floor today, and it may be that this is in coordination with the President, it may be we'll hear reports alter today that the President was angry about this because he cares about the Sunday shows and he wanted more pep and he wanted fire and brimstone and he wanted more Biden, we don't know. We see it all the time. He is watching sometimes on mute, sometimes he’s watching with sound, and he will have a reaction and then we'll see. Maybe we'll see all the things Jennifer was right to say were surprisingly missing today on Monday. 

To see the relevant CNN transcript from January 25, click “expand.”

CNN Senate Impeachment Trial
January 25, 2020
12:02 p.m. Eastern

WOLF BLITZER: I suspect, Jeffrey, if you're one of the wavering GOP senators on the fence now, what they heard from White House lawyers probably helped them if they're going to come around to the decision to avoid any additional witnesses or evidence. 

JEFFREY TOOBIN: Right. I'm not — pardon me — I’m not sure there are many wavering Republican senators at this point, but certainly there was information put forth today that would allow Republicans to vote against witnesses and to vote for an acquittal. That's what defense lawyers do. It was not spell-binding. I thought Mr. Purpura, who was I believe the second person to argue, did a very good job of talking about one rather narrow issue, which is when the Ukrainians knew that the aid was cut off. I thought he was persuasive on that point. But after that, I thought it deteriorated. I was surprised that Jay Sekulow who I think is a very fine lawyer, I’d seen him argue in the Supreme Court several times, sort of wandered in the wastelands of the Mueller report that didn't seem relevant. Mr. Philbin, who is not a spell-binding performer, went on about how it was legitimate in their view not to respond to any subpoenas and not to respond to any wit — not to provide any witnesses by the Trump administration. I thought that was a particularly weak performance, but, you know, if you are inclined to the defense point of view, there were facts and arguments to justify your position this morning. 

ANDERSON COOPER: Preet, I wonder what you thought of it. 

PREET BHARARA: I generally agree with what Mr. Toobin had to say. What I thought was interesting looking back a day, in the final closing argument that chairman Adam Schiff made, he did what we call a prebuttal because he doesn't have opportunity to come back at the end of what the President's lawyers say —

COOPER: Right. To preempt what they were going to 

BHARARA: — right and I think I didn't tick them off, have a chart or excel spread sheet, but I think pretty everything raised today was in some way anticipated by Adam Schiff yesterday. So, if you're the type of juror that paid attention and you care about listening to facts and arguments and remember what Adam Schiff said yesterday, you had some response to things that were said today, but overall, I don’t think any minds changed. I think contrary to what people say on social media, it was a smart thing to not take too much time. I don't know if that's a function of wanting to be respectful of senators' times or the president said we're in the death which we’re pleased to be here on the death valley of ratings Saturday, but generally speaking, if you take less time and you make your points more crisply, that's probably better.

TOOBIN: And also, if you’re winning, shut up. 

BHARARA: Yeah.

TOOBIN: That's I think the guiding principle of what they’re doing. 

COOPER: Let’s get some other takes. How do you feel?

JENNIFER RODGERS: One thing I was surprised about, we didn't hear about the Bidens, all the Hunter Biden that we thought or at least I thought we might hear today. Instead, we got this kind of, you know, legal argument here, a Trump's the victim argument there, a little scattershot, but wasn't as affirmative, offensive an argument as I expected. We may see more of that Monday, but I thought we would get more of that, so a little more of a surprise.

COOPER: Ross?

ROSS GARBER: Yeah, I think the notion was go into the weekend and sort of hit key points of the House managers' case. You know, normally sort of, you know, the person who defines the issue wins, so I was a little bit surprised that the President's team sort of didn't kind of make their own case, their own points. But I think the reason for that, they knew we were going into the weekend, they know about the Sunday talk shows, they’re trying to hit the House managers' point, and then the appeal to the general public that this is about elections, this is about, you know, disrupting the results of the 2016 election and potentially disrupting the 2020 election. That's sort of the appeal to the general public. 

COOPER: It seemed to me Sunday talk shows seem to be important to President Trump. He certainly seems to have watch them and like to have his people on them. I would have thought going into those shows they would have made more of an argument on whether it’s the Bidens or whatever argument they want to — to push. 

TOOBIN: You know, I love me some Jake Tapper, but are the Sunday shows really that important? 

COOPER: He watches. 

TOOBIN: No to the world?

COOPER: No, I’m not saying to the world. I mean President Trump.

TOOBIN: I — I — it’s — it’s sort of mystifying that he’s so concerned — he’s so concerned about them. Again, I just think the Republicans are winning here. The President is winning here and as long as they don't, you know, completely fall on their faces, which they're all competent lawyers, they're not going to do that, I think that's fine for them. 

BHARARA: Look who was elected to speak. You know, the fact that the President of United States picked people like Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr and others who are somewhat flamboyant, Ken Starr, not so flamboyant but controversy because he’s known for the prior big case he presided over, those guys weren't up on the Senate floor today, and it may be that this is in coordination with the President, it may be we'll hear reports alter today that the President was angry about this because he cares about the Sunday shows and he wanted more pep and he wanted fire and brimstone and he wanted more Biden, we don't know. We see it all the time. He is watching sometimes on mute, sometimes he’s watching with sound, and he will have a reaction and then we'll see. Maybe we'll see all the things Jennifer was right to say were surprisingly missing today on Monday. 

COOPER: They also seem — off the beginning, off the top, they tried to put the transcript kind of at the center, which is puzzling.

TOOBIN: And they made one good point about that I thought, which was you know, the president talked about burden-sharing in the phone call and the house managers didn't focus on that or even mention it. Fair is fair. I think that is —

COOPER: Which is something he has talked about in other places. 

TOOBIN: — he has talked about before and that was I thought a very legitimate, good point made by the defense. Whether that's enough to overcome what’s else [sic] is in the transcript is a separate question, but I believe that was Cipollone who — who raised that, I’m trying to remember which lawyer it was, but, you know, this is what good lawyers do. You point to evidence that favors your case, whether it is the dispositive piece of evidence is, of course, a different question, but good for them. 

RODGERS: But they can't help themselves from making stupid mistakes. I mean, they're talking about the transcript and Purpura actually says it is the real transcript. It’s the actual transcript. It’s not a transcript and it says so right on the front page. You know, why are they mischaracterizing things when they don't have to?

COOPER: Well, it’s the same thing President Trump said about the transcript — alleged transcript.

RODGERS: But that’s the point. These are his lawyers, they're supposed to be more careful. Why are you going to misrepresent what it is when all you have to say is we have the read out from the call, let’s look at that, and see what it says. It just seems like a mistake to me.

(....)

12:12 p.m. Eastern

TOOBIN: Well, we did expect, came to pass, Giuliani wasn't even mentioned as far as I could tell. 

ROSS GARBER: I didn’t hear his name.

RODGERS: Not at all.

GARBER: At all.

RODGERS: Yeah and we won't. 

GARBER: Yeah, which is not a surprise. What the president's lawyers did is they, you know, stuck closely to what the President said and people who talked to the President and stayed away from all of the Bid — the Giuliani stuff. One of the other things notable, who did the arguments today. It was — it was mostly the President's official lawyers, these are White House lawyers, these are government employees as opposed to the President's personal lawyers. Jay Sekulow was the only personal lawyer that spoke today. That to me was pretty striking. 

TOOBIN: White — White House and white people. I mean, you know, this is a lesson in the diversity of the two parties. I mean, you look at the House managers, it was almost evenly divided between men and women. It was — you had two African Americans, you had a Hispanic, I mean, you know, it was all white men today. There are two — two white women on — on allegedly on the team, we'll see if they're allowed to argue, but I mean, I think, you know, in a visual medium when you have one side that has a very diverse team and the other side that's all white men, that says something in and of itself.

NB Daily Trump Impeachment Race Issues Feminism CNN Jeffrey Toobin Anderson Cooper Jay Sekulow Donald Trump Preet Bharara
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