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On Thursday, CNN’s Manu Raju and Alex Rogers “reported” on the fact that three Republican Senators – Ted Cruz (TX), Lindsey Graham (SC), and Mike Lee (UT) met with Trump’s defense team the evening before the lawyers would be presenting their case before the Senate.
Insinuating that the senators were trying to be secretive, the article pointed out that they were “spotted” entering a room “that Trump’s lawyers were using to prepare for their arguments” at the Capitol. The reporters caught up with David Schoen, one of Trump’s attorneys, to ask him about the meeting. Here’s what he said:
Trump lawyer David Schoen said that the senators were “very friendly guys” who just wanted to make sure they were “familiar with procedure” on the eve of their rebuttal to the House impeachment managers’ presentation.
When asked if it’s appropriate to meet with senators during the trial, Schoen said, “Oh yeah, I think that’s the practice of impeachment.”
“There’s nothing about this thing that has any semblance of due process whatsoever,” he added.
While the article pointed out that some senators view themselves as jurors while others do not, the insinuation behind it was that it was unseemly for three supposed jurors to be meeting with attorneys representing one side of the case.
The video segment that accompanied the story was inarguably much more direct in its criticism of the meeting. Anchor Wolf Blitzer was interviewing Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin (MD). During the segment, Blitzer brought up the story on Cruz, Graham, and Lee meeting with the lawyers, and asked him his thoughts. Here’s how the exchange went down (bolded emphasis added):
BLITZER: We learned just a little while ago, Senator, that some of your Republican colleagues, including Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, they actually went into a room off of the — near the Senate over there. They met with Mr. Trump’s attorneys earlier in the afternoon.
Is that something impartial jurors should be doing?
CARDIN: Well, that’s very unusual. I’m surprised to hear that.
Look, we all need to make our own independent judgments. We took a separate oath to be jurors and to weigh the information that is presented. That’s why I say we need to listen to what the president’s lawyers are suggesting. We have a chance for questions and then closing arguments.
But it seems a little strange to have separate meetings with the counsel.
BLITZER: Yes, I thought it was strange as well.
Other parts from the transcript of the program show several CNN journalists bringing up the “issue” of the meeting and proclaiming senators were “impartial jurors” in the Senate trial:
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: “Well, Wolf, we’re seeing that they’re already beginning to prepare for the Trump defense. In fact, a group of key Republican senators, also serving as jurors, were seen going into a private room with members of the Trump legal defense team …:
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It appears we will know that answer as early as Saturday night or into Sunday. The trial appears to be on that fast of a track, Wolf.
I think you have to say, by what we just heard from Ryan and other reporting tonight, the answer is, as of the moment, it does not look so. You have Lindsey Graham and other Republicans actually in plotting strategy with Trump’s lawyers. They are supposed to be impartial jurors. Tells you everything you need to know.
“Tells you everything you need to know” about what exactly? That CNN doesn’t know what the hell they’re talking about when it comes to asserting that senators are supposed to be “impartial jurors” when in fact there is no such requirement?
When Cruz got wind of the story, he smacked it down without breaking a sweat:
CNN is no longer a news organization. They’re Dem propagandists.
Facts they are ignoring:
(1) senators are NOT jurors, as Dem Sen. Harkin clarified: https://t.co/s9o2gcZwHo
(2) Schumer repeatedly confers w/ House managers, as always & fully appropriate. https://t.co/XgSxPtpoQJ
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 12, 2021
Indeed. Also, I must have missed the CNN report that talked about how an “impartial” Democratic “juror” (Pat Leahy) presiding over the trial “told us all we need to know.”
The media (and Democrats) tried these bogus “impartial juror” tactics on Republicans during the last impeachment trial for Trump, too, and then-Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was having none of it.
On a related noted, here’s former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich piling on the stupidity:
They are not "jurors." Delete your account. https://t.co/df74QrSAQU
— Sister Toldjah, VP of BS Detection 😁 (@sistertoldjah) February 12, 2021
When you can’t spot the difference between CNN “reporting” and claims from Democratic officials, that kind of tells you everything, doesn’t it?