There were two background press interviews between the media and President Trump’s legal team that were withheld from public release until today.
During one question and answer period on Saturday, following the first round of defense points, the key framework of unconstitutional impeachment was raised:
[…] TRANSCRIPT – Question from Jeff Mason with Reuters: Can you walk us through the discrepancy between your side and the House impeachment managers with regard to the President — you guys alleging that the President was shut out from representation during the hearings? They preemptively said that that was false.
You also said today, I believe, that the reason the White House didn’t take — didn’t allow or go through with the subpoenas is because the subpoenas were invalid. Can you just walk us through the discrepancies between the two sides on that?
SOURCE ON THE PRESIDENT’S LEGAL TEAM: Sure. On the subpoena question, first: There are one of several different legal reasons that apply to different requests for documents or witnesses. And this will be explained further in our presentation, but I’ll just sort of recap what I was saying today.
One problem was that they began this impeachment inquiry in the HPSCI and the other committees that were meeting in the SCIF without any vote from the House to authorize it. And the essential point is that the Constitution gives the impeachment power to the House as a chamber — the whole House. For any committee to exercise part of that authority to a compulsory process, the committee has to be authorized by the House. That takes a vote of the House. And it could be in a resolution, it could be in a rule. It could be something that’s — but it has to be voted on by the House to actually delegate authority to the committee. There was no such vote here. And there was no jurisdiction in the standing rule to use the impeachment power for those committees.
So those subpoenas were issued without authority and they were invalid. And that’s a pretty standard analysis for how you examine and have the committee (inaudible) issue a subpoena. The courts have said you have to look at the authorizing resolution that gives it its investigatory powers, and that was our point. And this was explained in letters at the time. I put up on the screen an October 18th letter that we explained at the time this reasoning. So that’s on the invalidity of the subpoenas.
In terms of locking the President out of the process: You know, as I went through today, there was sort of an illusory offer to allow the President to have some rights in proceedings before the House Judiciary Committee. But before the deadline had even come for the President to specify how he would like to participate and what rights he would like to exercise, the Judiciary Committee had already decided they weren’t going to have any factual hearings — hear from any fact witnesses. And the Speaker had already announced the outcome of the proceedings by directing the committee to start drafting articles of impeachment.
So it was clear that the process was already a foregone conclusion, and there wasn’t going to be any real process. It was just going for show. And so the President determined that he would not sort of lend an air of legitimacy to that by participating.
And I think that that’s it.