President Trump’s defense team plans to present arguments for about two hours on Saturday, an official familiar with the strategy confirmed to The Hill.
The president’s attorneys will get their first chance to present on Saturday, a window Trump dubbed Friday morning as “Death Valley in T.V.” They are expected to speak for only a couple hours before giving a more extensive presentation on Monday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that the trial will start at 10 a.m. and “run for several hours.”
A spokesman for McConnell declined to provide a specific end time but noted in a tweet that “several” qualifies as more than two, signaling that the proceeding is likely to go into the early afternoon.
Asked after a closed-door lunch if it would last from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the No. 4 Republican leader, told reporters he expected it would run until around 1 p.m.
The defense team has 24 hours to speak over three days beginning Saturday. Because the trial is not in session on Sunday, the defense team would also have both Monday and Tuesday to make their case.
“If they went 10 to one tomorrow, you would expect they would at least part of the other two days they had,” Blunt said asked about the schedule next week.
House impeachment managers are slated to conclude their opening arguments on Friday and are expected to use most if not all of their 24 hours allotted.
The Democrats making the case against Trump have laid out in granular detail how they believe he abused his office by pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rivals and how he obstructed Congress by refusing to cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry.
The GOP-controlled Senate is nearly certain to acquit Trump, though there is still uncertainty surrounding whether the chamber will hear from additional witnesses sought primarily by Democrats.
Once the president’s team concludes its arguments, senators will have 16 hours to ask questions of both sides. That will be followed by a vote on whether to hear additional witnesses and evidence.
Jordain Carney contributed.
Updated at 1:52 p.m.