GOP senators met with Trump's impeachment team to talk strategy

A group of GOP senators met with former President TrumpDonald TrumpRomney blasts end of filibuster, expansion of SCOTUS McConnell, GOP slam Biden's executive order on SCOTUS US raises concerns about Iran's seriousness in nuclear talks MORE's legal team on Thursday to discuss strategy as they prepare to present their opening arguments in the impeachment trial.

Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGOP lawmakers block Biden assistance to Palestinians Cruz on Boehner: 'I wear with pride his drunken, bloviated scorn' The Hill's Morning Report - Biden: Let's make a deal on infrastructure, taxes MORE (Texas), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOn management of Utah public lands, Biden should pursue an accountable legislative process Rubio asks MLB commissioner if he'll give up Augusta golf club membership Why some Republicans think vaccine passports will backfire on Democrats MORE (R-Utah) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOvernight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists Biden defense budget criticized by Republicans, progressives alike Sanders expresses 'serious concerns' with Biden's defense increase MORE (R-S.C.) were spotted entering the meeting, which took place in a room near the Senate chamber that Trump's team is using as a workspace.

Cruz told reporters after the meeting that they were talking strategy for the defense's opening arguments on Friday.


"We were discussing their legal strategy and sharing our thoughts," Cruz said.

Asked to elaborate, Cruz added that they were talking "in terms of where the argument was and where to go."

"I think their job is to make clear how the house managers have not carried their burden of proof. They have not demonstrated that the president's conduct satisfies the legal standard of high crimes and misdemeanors," Cruz added.

Cruz also defended the meeting on Twitter, arguing that senators aren't jurors and that "Schumer repeatedly confers w/ House managers, as always & fully appropriate." 

Graham didn't comment to reporters on the meeting as he left. A spokesperson for Lee said that Trump's team invited the GOP senators, so they met with them.


The meeting comes after Trump's team was panned by GOP senators Tuesday as the defense argued that the trial was unconstitutional because Trump is no longer president. 

Asked about meeting with GOP senators who are jurors, David Schoen, a member of Trump's legal team, defended the decision.

"That's the practice here with impeachment. There's nothing about this thing that has any semblance of due process whatsoever," he said.

He added that the senators were "friendly guys," and "just talking about procedure, making sure we're familiar with the procedure."

"It was a very nice thing to make us feel welcome here," Schoen said.

Schoen also said the senators did not give any indication of what questions they would ask during a question-and-answer session that could start as soon as Friday, once opening arguments wrap up.

Though the Senate resolution governing the impeachment trial gives them two days, Schoen, a member of Trump's defense team, indicated that they could use three to four hours. Like other senators, he has said he thought the trial could wrap Saturday, days ahead of what was initially expected.

Schoen added that he did not talk with the former president during the meeting with GOP senators, however, he told reporters that he had spoken with Trump and described him as "very upbeat."