This week, opening arguments in President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial got underway — but he’s not the only one whose actions are under the microscope. At least a couple of his lawyers also seem to be actively in on the Ukraine bribery scheme at the core of the impeachment proceedings against him. Those out front for the president so far have included White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow, the latter of whom derided what POLITICO termed a “litany of allegations flying around Capitol Hill” as “nonsense.” But, there’s evidence — Giuliani associate Lev Parnas insists that Sekulow knew about Giuliani’s role in the Ukraine scheme, and Democrats confronted Cipollone with “evidence showing he’s a material witness in their impeachment case” before opening arguments even officially began
That evidence includes Cipollone’s roles in both the original bribery scheme and the plot to cover it up. To start with, he’s the superior of National Security Council (NSC) lawyer John Eisenberg, who participated in the effort to cover up for the president’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate his opponents in exchange for military aid. NSC official Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman said that Eisenberg demanded he keep quiet about what he knew about that pressure. Cipollone also personally signed off on multiple White House refusals to comply with Congressional subpoenas. Those refusals culminated in the second charge against Trump: obstruction of Congress.
And this is the guy who Trump has defending him in the Senate — someone who’s in on the scheme with him. His legal team includes other controversial figures too, like Alan Dershowitz, whose past clients include O.J. Simpson and Jeffrey Epstein, and former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who accepted a large donation from Trump right before she suspiciously abandoned an investigation into one of his scams. In other words, the complicity goes on from Cipollone.
On Wednesday, Trump was all smiles when talking about Cipollone to reporters. The White House counsel’s arguments in the impeachment trial are the first public statements he’s made since accepting his present position. Trump commented:
‘I was very impressed with Pat. He had great emotion yesterday. Pat is a brilliant guy, but I’ve never seen that emotion. And that’s real emotion. That’s because he knows this is a hoax. And I was very proud of the job he did.’
Trump’s lawyers’ involvement in his schemes doesn’t even stop with those involved with his impeachment defense, POLITICO notes.
The outlet explains:
‘On Wednesday, House impeachment prosecutors name-dropped Giuliani more than 200 times during their opening presentations on the Senate floor. That was on top of nearly 60 mentions Tuesday… And that’s in addition to 91 Giuliani references in the opening brief that the House filed last weekend.’
Giuliani helped the president and his other allies relay the pressure to Ukraine to open an investigation into Trump’s opponents, including the Bidens. Trump told reporters that he kept Giuliani off his formal impeachment defense team to avoid “conflict” because he “could be a witness at some point, if this whole sham continues.” In the possible scenario of a fair trial, Cipollone and Sekulow could be witnesses as well.