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Trump impeachment: how did former president react to Bruce Castor’s Senate appearance?

According to sources close to the former president, Bruce Castor's opening gambit in the Senate impeachment trial did not go down well.

Attorney Bruce Castor, representing and defending former President Donald Trump, holds a copy of the US Constitution as he addresses the Senate.
U.S. Senate TV via REUTERS

Donald Trump was reportedly reduced to “almost screaming” when one of his own defense attorneys took to the Senate floor on Tuesday on the opening day of the impeachment trial against the former US president for allegedly inciting the 6 January riots at the US Capitol that left five people dead. According to sources close to the former occupant of the Oval Office, Trump was far from impressed by the performance of Bruce Castor, who with David Schoen heads up his legal team.

Castor, a former Pennsylvania acting Attorney General, praised the US Senate and lauded the work of the House impeachment managers, a nine-member committee of House representatives who are responsible for presenting the case against Trump and which includes several veterans of the first impeachment trial against the former president a year ago.

Senate votes Trump trial is constitutional

Trump’s legal team faced their first setback early on Tuesday when the Senate voted against their cornerstone argument; that commencing impeachment proceedings against a private citizen is unconstitutional. The upper chamber voted 56-44 to proceed with the trial, deeming it constitutional, with six Republicans dipping their toes over the political line to vote against the former president.

However, the House impeachment managers face an uphill struggle to garner the two-thirds majority of the Senate required to find Trump guilty and potentially bar him from holding public office in the future. That would require 17 Republican Senators to thumb their noses at party lines, a tall order given the aura Trump still retains with Republican diehards.

Trump confident of verdict, seeking return to political stage

According to CNN, Trump was incandescent during Castor’s Senate appearance but is not expected to seek a change in his defense team at this stage given the likelihood of the trial going his way. Trump was forced to reshuffle his defense after several members of his initial team left days before the trial was scheduled to begin, reportedly due to his insistence that they focus on claims of voter fraud in the presidential election won by Joe Biden.

That said, Trump and his supporters were said to be bemused by the decision of his lead attorneys to switch their speaking positions at the last minute, with Castor replacing Schoen.

Castor explained the last-minute switch by telling the Senate: “We changed what we were going to do on account that we thought that the House managers' presentation was well done."

According to sources close to the former president, Trump has decided to keep a low profile during the impeachment proceedings as he plots a return to the political stage to coincide with the 2022 mid-term elections.


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