It’s Day One of the Senate Impeachment Trial and Trump’s Defense Team Is Already Lying

That was fast.

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It took less than two hours in the Senate impeachment trial on Tuesday for a member of President Donald Trump’s defense team to tell an outright lie.

White House Counsel Pat Cipollone began by complaining about House Democrats’ process for interviewing witnesses in the impeachment inquiry. “The proceedings took place in the basement of the House of Representatives,” Cipollone said. Then he added, “Not even [House Intelligence Committee chair Adam] Schiff’s Republican colleagues were allowed into the SCIF”—the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility where the interviews took place.

There are several issues with that narrative. For one, closed-door interviews are routine for sensitive congressional probes. But more important, plenty of Republicans participated in the closed-door meetings; they sat on the three committees leading the impeachment investigation. The stunt pulled by dozens of Republicans who loudly claimed otherwise was a clear attempt to distract from the inquiry’s bombshell testimonies.

On Tuesday, Cipollone breezed past those truths to parrot Trump’s longstanding claim that the impeachment proceedings have been rigged from the start. It was a clear signal that Trump’s lawyers had no intention of rising up to the solemnity of a historic impeachment trial and instead would seek to turn C-Span into Fox News.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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