Senate

Cassidy calls Trump attorneys ‘disorganized’ after surprise vote

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) on Tuesday panned the arguments made by former President Trump’s legal team, saying that House Democrats made a more compelling case that the impeachment proceeding is constitutional.

“I said I’d be an impartial juror. Anyone listening to those arguments — the House managers were focused. They were organized. They relied upon both precedent, the constitution and legal scholars. They made a compelling reason. President Trump’s team were disorganized,” he said.

Cassidy on Tuesday voted along with all Democrats and five other Republicans to say that it was constitutional to hold the trial, the first for a president already out of office.  

Unlike the other five, Cassidy’s vote caught immediate attention because he supported an effort late last month by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to declare the trial unconstitutional. The Senate, in a 55-45 vote, pigeonholed Paul’s January effort.  

Cassidy was among a number of GOP senators to criticize the presentation by Trump’s legal team on Tuesday, which was panned as “unfocused” and hard to follow. 

“They did everything they could but to talk about the question at hand, and when they talked about it, they kind of glided over it, almost as if they were embarrassed of their arguments. Now, I’m an impartial juror, and one side is doing a great job, and the other side is doing a terrible job on the issue at hand. As an impartial juror, I’m going to vote for the side that did the good job,” Cassidy said.  

Asked why he thought Trump’s team did a bad job, Cassidy fired back, “Did you listen to it?” 

“It speaks for itself. It was disorganized, random, had nothing — they talked about many things, but they didn’t talk about the issue at hand,” Cassidy said. 

Cassidy noted that at one point he leaned over to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to ask if Trump’s team was talking about whether the trial was constitutional — the issue they were supposed to be debating and ultimately voted on. 

“He goes, ‘Not now,'” Cassidy said. “I’m thinking maybe I’m missing something.”

Cassidy stressed that the Tuesday vote did not mean he would vote to convict Trump on the one article of impeachment. 

“We haven’t heard that yet,” Cassidy said. 

Cassidy’s vote didn’t go without notice from Republicans. 
 
Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) said he was “surprised” and already hearing from people in their home state. 
 
“I have not spoken to him, but I can tell you a lot of people from back home are calling me about it right now,” he told reporters. 
 
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said the presentation by House managers didn’t change anyone’s mind, before adding, “I don’t know. Maybe Cassidy’s mind was.” 
Tags Bill Cassidy Donald Trump Lindsey Graham Mike Johnson Rand Paul Ted Cruz
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