Why did Bruce Castor speak before David Schoen? Trump irked by lawyers' rambling speeches at impeachment trial

Impeachment lawyer Bruce Castor delivered a meandering argument on the first day as he struggled to get to the heart of his team's assertion — the constitutionality of the trial


                            Why did Bruce Castor speak before David Schoen? Trump irked by lawyers' rambling speeches at impeachment trial
Trump impeachment lawyers Bruce Castor and David Schoen (Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial is underway and the latest reports confirm that he might not be all that happy with the way things are going. Trump was reportedly unhappy with his impeachment lawyer Bruce Castor's opening argument on the Senate floor on Tuesday, February 9. 

Two people familiar with his reaction told CNN that Castor, who is representing Trump alongside attorney David Schoen, delivered a meandering argument during the first day of the Senate impeachment trial. This included praise for the House impeachment managers for a presentation which he believed was "well done". However, he struggled to get to the heart of his team's argument — the constitutionality of the trial.

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But Trump is reportedly not all that happy with this latest update. According to a report in CNN, Trump was almost screaming as Castor struggled to get at the heart of his defense team's argument. The former president's argument is supposed to be over the constitutionality of holding a trial for a POTUS who is no longer in office. One of the sources told the publication that this hardly comes as a surprise since the legal team was assembled a little over a week ago and that "it went as expected". 

But what was a noteworthy development from the trial was something else. According to the CNN report, Trump's allies were flabbergasted when the attorneys switched speaking slots at the last minute.

In this screenshot taken from a congress.gov webcast, David Schoen, defense lawyer for former President Donald Trump speaks on the first day of former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial at the US Capitol on February 9, 2021, in Washington, DC (Getty Images)

'Trump is f***ed if anyone ever charges him'

Castor went on rambling praises of the Senate, including his home state Pennsylvania senators Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Bob Casey while arguing that the Senate should not be holding the trial at all and that it is unconstitutional for Trump to be impeached because he no longer holds an office. At the same time, he added that a second impeachment trial in 13 months would "open the floodgates" to future impeachments, even making the unfounded rhetorical suggestion that former Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder could be impeached. But plans failed as the Senate ultimately voted 56-44 that the impeachment trial is constitutional.

An adviser to Trump's team offered a candid assessment of the opening day and reportedly said, "What the hell is going on?" The adviser added that the former president could be in serious jeopardy if he finds himself charged in criminal court, given his inability to attract a high-powered legal team for the impeachment trial. "Trump is fucked if anyone ever charges him. No one wants to work with him," the adviser said.

Bruce Castor Jr., lawyer for Donald Trump arrives on the first day of the former president's second impeachment trial at the US Capitol on February 9, 2021, in Washington, DC (Getty Images)

Why did the two lawyers swap speaking slots? 

Two people familiar with the plan revealed that Schoen was supposed to present first, not Castor. But Castor told the Senate that Trump's legal team "changed what we were going to do on account that we thought that the House managers' presentation was well done". A separate senior adviser to Trump insisted that Castor was attempting to lower the emotional temperature in the Senate before Schoen took over. "This is about lowering the temperature following the Democrats' emotionally charged opening, before dropping the hammer on the unconstitutional nature of this impeachment witch hunt," the adviser reportedly said.

After Schoen took over, he alleged that Democrats were using impeachment as a political "blood sport" to try to keep Trump from running for office again, accusing them of trying to disenfranchise pro-Trump voters. Trump was reportedly displeased with his defense team, but his staff was assured that he was headed for an acquittal and it won't change the outcome of the trial. Two separate sources close to Trump say he's lying low through the end of the trial but talking with aides about how to reemerge and help Republicans around the midterm elections.