On CNN Thursday, anchor Jim Sciutto pressed Robert Ray, one of President Donald Trump’s lawyers in the impeachment trial, about the lies being told by some of his fellows, and he repeatedly refused even to engage with the premise of the questions.
“First, I want to get to the facts of the claims, some of the claims made so far,” said Sciutto. “Let’s start with number one. White House counsel Pat Cipollone, one of your teammates in the president’s defense team, said, ‘Not even Mr. Schiff’s Republican colleagues were allowed in the SCIF.’ This is the secure room where house hearings took place. In fact, 48 GOP members of the three committees that hold those hearings were allowed in the SCIF, and they were given equal time to question witnesses. Will you grant that Pat Cipollone was at least being misleading there?”
“Pat Cipollone is the leader of this defense effort,” said Ray. “I think having a conversation now about what happened in the House of Representatives really is not the task or the matter at hand. I think we all need to move on, take a big deep breath, and let’s focus on the articles of impeachment and a trial in the Senate. The House’s job is over. We’re well past that now. We’re now in another body, in the United States Senate, where this important and grave matter will be resolved.”
“But if it’s true, then why lie?” Sciutto pressed him. “If the case is strong, why present facts that are easily — or claims that are easily contradicted by the facts?”
“Jim, I’m not interested in navigating in the procedural weeds here. We’re well past that now,” whined Ray. “We are in the middle of a trial about the grave question about articles of impeachment, whether there’s sufficient evidence to sustain them, recognizing those articles don’t charge crimes, and the important task ahead, which is whether the Senate believes, as a result of a trial, the removal of the president from office is warranted.”
“A central part of the defense, though, is about process and how unfair the process has been. And that’s been repeated as the trial began,” pointed out Sciutto. “I’ll give you another one. Jay Sekulow, also a member of the president’s defense team, team member of yours. ‘The president was denied the right to cross-examine witnesses, access evidence, and have counsel present at hearings.’ Trump was invited by the Judiciary Committee, by Jerry Nadler, to do just that, and Pat Cipollone declined the offer, claiming the process was unfair. Again, the president’s legal team is claiming something that is not true there. Why, again, if the case is strong, why not be honest about how that played out in the House?”
“Their overall point, and I will allow House Republicans to speak to that question. I’m not a member of the House of Representatives, and I wasn’t there,” said Ray. “What I will say is that this effort was an entirely partisan effort to impeach a president. And history has not treated that kindly in connection with presidential impeachments. The point being that under the Constitution, where we are headed is, there is only grounds to remove a president from office if it enjoys bipartisan support.”
“As you know better than me, as a lawyer, there is no constitutional requirement on the bipartisan makeup that gives them the power to impeach based on a simple majority,” Sciutto said, as Ray continued to dodge his questions.
Markets are ‘getting ready for something worse’ amid coronavirus chaos: Expert
On Thursday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," business analyst Richard Quest said that the United States is not likely on track for a recession at the moment — but that if the coronavirus outbreak explodes within the country, it could destabilize the economy into a tailspin.
"The 1,190-point drop today, the largest in the history of the New York Stock Exchange," said anchor Wolf Blitzer. "Over the past week, the Dow Jones has dropped 3,581 points since last Thursday alone ... could the U.S. economy now go into recession if the coronavirus spreads here in the United States?"
"Right, the qualifications of that is the last bit of your question: If it spreads in the United States," said Quest. "At the moment, there's no reputable economist that is forecasting a global recession or a U.S. recession if the status quo is maintained, i.e., periodic expansions of this with just a few more cases. However, if there was a full-scale outbreak and you start looking at large parts of the U.S. economy being shut down, no question about it. A recession would be on the cards."
Trump is getting a ‘no-confidence vote from financial markets’ over erratic coronavirus response: CNN’s Harwood
The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank once again in early trading on Thursday amid concerns about how the spread of the coronavirus will impact the economy.
CNN's John Harwood on Thursday said that President Donald Trump's efforts to calm markets by appointing Vice President Mike Pence to oversee the government's coronavirus response had clearly flopped, as the Dow dropped by more than 700 points in early trading.
"What you have seen today and last night, when Dow futures fell while that press conference was going, on is a no confidence vote from financial markets," Harwood said. "You have the president appointing Mike Pence saying he's good on health -- we all remember that as governor of Indiana, he struggled to cope with a public health crisis on HIV by delaying needle exchanges. That had real consequences in terms of lives lost, so the administration has not gotten its act together."
NYT reporter reveals the stunning reason Trump believed coronavirus would disappear next month
On CNN Thursday, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman revealed that President Donald Trump is angry about his administration's coronavirus response — in part because he misunderstood what the experts told him about the disease and thought they meant it was going to go away soon.
"The president has been very frustrated with the public messaging of this from his administration, but not for the reasons that people necessarily think," said Haberman. "It's because there were experts who were saying one thing from the CDC, which was that there is this problem growing, and then he was trying to tamp this down in his own comments, and he keeps saying something that, as I understand it, is a misinterpretation of what he was told in a briefing, which was that viruses tend to decrease in numbers in terms of spread during warmer weather. He has taken that and put his own spin on it which is, it's going to stop by April. He's been telling people that for a while."