CBS Slimes Trump’s Legal Team: They’re Not Behaving Like Lawyers

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Day one of the Senate’s impeachment trial of President Trump was marked by a debate between the Democratic managers and the President’s legal team over the proposed rules for the proceedings. But instead of just reporting on the argument Trump’s legal team was making, CBS correspondent Chip Reid decided to insert his own editorial hot take against the lawyers.

After spending much of his Tuesday CBS Evening News report touting Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Reid slimed Trump’s legal representation by suggesting they weren’t behaving in a lawyerly fashion. Of course, that editorial remark came complete with edited soundbites:

PAT CIPOLLONE [President Trump’s legal team]: Partisan impeachment is like stealing an election.

REID: At times today, the President's legal team sounded less like lawyers and more like President Trump in his angry tweets.

JAY SEKULOW [President Trump’s legal team]: Why are we here? Are we here because of a phone call?

CIPOLLONE: And it's outrageous. It's outrageous. And the American people won't stand for it, I'll tell you that right now.

There was actually more to that quote from Jay Sekulow. Luckily, NBC Nightly News actually included it in their cut. “Why are we here? Are we here because of a phone call? Or, are we here before this great body because since the President was sworn into office, there was a desire to see him removed,” he declared.

 

 

NBC White House correspondent Peter Alexander also provided the correct context by noting Trump’s legal team was arguing that impeachment was a case of “partisan politics.”

Before chiding Trump’s legal team, Reid spent much of the report touting Senator Schumer. “Democratic leader Chuck Schumer lambasted Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan the cram 24 hours of opening arguments for each side into just two days, forcing much of the debate to happen after midnight,” he said.

“McConnell also gave in to a Democratic demand that all impeachment evidence compiled by the House automatically becomes evidence in the Senate trial, but Schumer quickly proved on to the biggest fight of all,” Reid boasted, speaking about “whether there will be White House documents and witnesses in the Senate trial…”

He then bragged that “House managers joined the fight” with this soundbite of California Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren: “Not a single president has issued a blanket direction to his administration to produce no documents and no witnesses.”

Very little of Reid’s report was objective reporting. It sounded more like a sports commentator touting his home team while ripping the opposition.

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

CBS Evening News
January 21, 2020
6:32:07 p.m. Eastern

NORAH O’DONNELL: Good evening. Thank you so much for joining us. And as we come on the air tonight, the impeachment trial of President Trump is now underway. It has been a day of accusations and anger on the floor of the Senate. Democrats are charging the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, with orchestrating a cover-up, saying he is trying to force senators to hold the trial late at night when Americans won't be watching.

Well, tonight, McConnell is becoming down after objections from several moderate members of his own party. As Democrats continue to push for witnesses to be allowed to testify. It's been an extraordinary day of public debate and behind-the-scenes maneuvering in a place that likes to call itself the world's greatest deliberative body. Chip Reid leads off our coverage tonight from Capitol Hill.

[Cuts to video]

CHIP REID: The impeachment debate began today before the Senate even convened.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): McConnell’s resolution is nothing short of a national disgrace.

REID: Democratic leader Chuck Schumer lambasted Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan the cram 24 hours of opening arguments for each side into just two days, forcing much of the debate to happen after midnight.

SCHUMER: He pushes the hours into the wee hours of the night so the American people won't see them.

REID: But shortly after Chief Justice John Roberts gaveled in the trial, the Senate clerk surprised almost everyone.

SENATE CLERK: For a period of time not exceed 24 hours over up to three session days.

REID: Yes, a new plan, three days instead of two for each side. McConnell agreed to make the handwritten change after some Republicans, including moderate Susan Collins of Maine, expressed concerns. McConnell also gave in to a Democratic demand that all impeachment evidence compiled by the House automatically becomes evidence in the Senate trial, but Schumer quickly proved on to the biggest fight of all.

SCHUMER: I send an amendment to the desk to subpoena certain documents and records from the White House.

REID: Whether there will be White House documents and witnesses in the Senate trial, including acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former National Security Adviser John Bolton. House managers joined the fight.

REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): Not a single president has issued a blanket direction to his administration to produce no documents and no witnesses.

REID: Chuck Schumer lost on a party-line vote with Republicans arguing the time to consider witnesses and documents is after this week's opening argument.

PAT CIPOLLONE (President Trump’s legal team): Partisan impeachment is like stealing an election.

REID: At times today, the President's legal team sounded less like lawyers and more like President Trump in his angry tweets.

JAY SEKULOW (President Trump’s legal team): Why are we here? Are we here because of a phone call?

CIPOLLONE: And it's outrageous. It's outrageous. And the American people won't stand for it, I'll tell you that right now.

[Cuts back to live]

O’DONNELL: Joining us now is Chip Reid who covered the Clinton impeachment trial, as well. So Chip, no phones, no food. How did these 100 senators fare today?

REID: Well, it's a bit like a college lecture hall, some of them are busily taking notes. Some of them look bored out of their minds. If they're hungry, by tradition, one of the desks on the Senate floor is filled with candy. And if they're thirsty, also by tradition, we're told that only two beverages are allowed on the senate floor, water and milk. Norah.

O’DONNELL: All right. Thank you, Chip.

NB Daily Events Trump Impeachment Labeling Political Groups Liberals & Democrats Broadcast Television CBS CBS Evening News Video Chip Reid Donald Trump Jay Sekulow Pat Cipollone

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