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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 70)

Trump’s Defense Team Calls Impeachment Charges ‘Brazen’ as Democrats Make Legal Case

Westlake Legal Group merlin_167294235_063a1fbd-5e56-4cba-9778-8a189a9ea1c4-facebookJumbo Trump’s Defense Team Calls Impeachment Charges ‘Brazen’ as Democrats Make Legal Case United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate impeachment House of Representatives Foreign Aid Democratic Party Constitution (US)

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s legal defense team strenuously denied on Saturday that he had committed impeachable acts, denouncing the charges against him as a “brazen and unlawful” attempt to cost him re-election as House Democrats laid out in meticulous detail their case that he should be removed from office.

In the first legal filings for the Senate impeachment trial that opens in earnest on Tuesday, the dueling arguments from the White House and the House impeachment managers previewed a politically charged fight over Mr. Trump’s fate, unfolding against the backdrop of the presidential election campaign.

They presented the legal strategies both sides are likely to employ during the third presidential impeachment trial in American history. They also vividly illustrated how the proceeding is almost certain to rekindle feuding over the 2016 election that has barely subsided during Mr. Trump’s tenure, and reverberate — whether he is convicted or acquitted — in an even more brutal electoral fight in November.

In a 46-page trial memorandum, and additional 60-page statement of facts, the House impeachment managers asserted that beginning in the spring, Mr. Trump undertook a corrupt campaign to enlist a foreign government to help him win the 2020 election. He did so, the Democrats argued, by pressuring Ukraine to publicly announce investigations of his political rivals, withholding as leverage vital military aid and a White House meeting for the country’s president.

The president then sought to conceal those actions from Congress, they said, posing “a serious danger to our constitutional checks and balances” by ordering administration officials not to testify or turn over documents requested by a House impeachment inquiry.

“President Trump’s conduct is the framers’ worst nightmare,” wrote the seven Democratic managers, led by Representative Adam B. Schiff of California.

In a six-page filing formally responding to the House impeachment charges submitted shortly after and filled with partisan barbs against House Democrats, Mr. Trump’s lawyers denounced the case as constitutionally and legally invalid, and driven purely by a desire to hurt Mr. Trump in the 2020 election.

“The articles of impeachment submitted by House Democrats are a dangerous attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their president,” they said in the response, which was Mr. Trump’s first legal submission in the impeachment proceeding, ahead of a fuller brief that is due on Monday. “This is a brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election and interfere with the 2020 election, now just months away.”

The president’s lawyers did not deny any of the core facts underlying Democrats’ charges, conceding what considerable evidence and testimony in the House has shown: that he withheld $391 million in aid and a White House meeting from Ukraine and asked the country’s president to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son, Hunter Biden.

But they said Mr. Trump broke no laws and was acting entirely appropriately and within his powers when he did so, echoing his repeated protestations of his own innocence. They argued that he was not seeking political advantage, but working to root out corruption in Ukraine.

“President Trump categorically and unequivocally denies each and every allegation in both articles of impeachment,” wrote Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel, and Jay Sekulow, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer.

The managers’ filing repeated many of the same arguments they laid out last fall in a report on the findings of their two-month impeachment inquiry. But it also indicated that they intended to make use of information that has come to light since the House’s impeachment vote in December.

They cited new documentary records handed over by Lev Parnas, an associate of the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, about the pressure campaign on Ukraine, and a Government Accountability Office report released this week that found that Mr. Trump violated the law when he withheld the military aid.

And though the House ultimately declined to bring charges based on the special counsel’s Russia investigation, Saturday’s filing indicates the managers are also poised to reprise its findings as they argue that Mr. Trump’s behavior toward Ukraine fits a pattern that poses a continuing threat to American elections. They argued that, just as Mr. Trump welcomed interference on his behalf from Russia in the 2016 election and then sought to thwart a federal investigation into the matter, he solicited Ukrainian assistance in the 2020 contest and then obstructed Congress’s ability to investigate.

The nation’s founders, the House Democrats said in their brief, “designed impeachment as the remedy for such misconduct because a president who manipulates U.S. elections to his advantage can avoid being held accountable by the voters through those same elections.”

They called Mr. Trump’s attempt to get Ukraine to discredit his political adversaries “part of an ongoing pattern of misconduct for which the president is unrepentant.”

The president, who spent Saturday at his golf course in West Palm Beach, Fla., has made no secret of his disdain for the House’s charges and its inquiry. He has repeatedly professed his total innocence in general terms, and specifically insisted that a July phone call in which he pressed President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate Mr. Biden and other Democrats was “perfect.”

But when invited to take part in the proceedings or mount a defense before the House Judiciary Committee, he refused. The closest the president’s lawyers had come to weighing in on the case was an eight-page letter to House Democrats in October in which they unequivocally refused to furnish any documents or allow any witnesses to testify.

Like that letter, Mr. Trump’s answer to the Senate on Saturday was heavy with political messaging even as it asserted broad constitutional principles and general legal arguments to proclaim the president’s innocence.

In a statement later in the evening, the House managers criticized the claim by the president’s legal team that the pressure on Ukraine was just Mr. Trump’s way of fighting corruption.

“It is not,” the Democratic lawmakers wrote. “Rather it is corruption itself, naked, unapologetic and insidious.”

The defense filing was far shorter than the House managers’ memorandum, but White House lawyers have until noon on Monday to produce a more comprehensive legal brief laying out the case they will make on the floor of the Senate.

The House can then submit a written rebuttal by Tuesday. If all goes according to plan, the managers will begin live presentations in the Senate on Wednesday, and under an expedited schedule being contemplated by Senate Republicans, the president’s team could begin its presentation on Friday.

The defense filing on Saturday argued that Mr. Trump “has not in any way abused the powers of the presidency,” and that the July 25 call between Mr. Trump and the president of Ukraine was “perfectly legal, entirely appropriate, and taken in furtherance of our national interest.”

The arguments by Mr. Trump’s lawyers tracked closely with those presented throughout the House inquiry by Republicans in that chamber, like Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio and Mark Meadows of North Carolina, who did not dispute what had occurred so much as the idea that the president had been acting on some corrupt scheme.

The document appeared intended to appeal to Mr. Trump’s sensibilities. It accused Mr. Schiff of “creating a fraudulent version” of the July 25 call when he jokingly offered a hypothetical conversation during a congressional hearing, something that Mr. Trump has repeatedly mocked Mr. Schiff for doing.

As they have said for weeks, the president’s lawyers asserted that the articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump are “invalid on their face” because they do not accuse the president of breaking any law.

But the Democrats argued in their memorandum that impeachable actions “need not be indictable offenses,” a theory that has been espoused by many legal scholars. The framers of the Constitution, they argued, intended the remedy for “acts committed by public officials that inflict severe harm on the constitutional order.”

The president’s legal team also rejected the charge that Mr. Trump is guilty of obstruction of Congress. They argued that Mr. Trump’s attempts to prevent witnesses from testifying in what the president has called a “sham” impeachment inquiry is a legitimate exercise of executive privilege that is essential to guard the authority and prerogatives of the presidency.

The House concluded that Mr. Trump’s claims of “absolute immunity” or other privileges on behalf of 12 officials and his decision to block the delivery of documents amounted to flagrant obstruction. The president’s lawyers made clear that they disagreed, saying that “asserting valid constitutional privileges and immunities cannot be an impeachable offense.”

The president’s lawyers also accused Congress of denying Mr. Trump due process during the impeachment proceedings, including “the right to have counsel present, the right to cross-examine witnesses and the right to present evidence.”

While the president’s lawyers were not allowed to attend closed-door depositions of some witnesses, Republican allies of the president attended every interview and asked questions, according to transcripts of the sessions.

The president rejected Democratic offers to present evidence, question witnesses or otherwise mount a defense during hearings before the House Judiciary Committee.

Mr. Cipollone and Mr. Sekulow will lead the president’s defense at trial. The White House announced Friday that the team would also include Ken Starr, the former independent counsel whose investigation of President Bill Clinton led to his impeachment, Robert W. Ray, who succeeded Mr. Starr, and Alan Dershowitz, a celebrity defense lawyer.

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting from New York.

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Trump Legal Team Denies Impeachment Charges in First Official Response

Westlake Legal Group merlin_167294235_063a1fbd-5e56-4cba-9778-8a189a9ea1c4-facebookJumbo Trump Legal Team Denies Impeachment Charges in First Official Response United States Politics and Government Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate impeachment House of Representatives Foreign Aid Democratic Party Constitution (US)

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s legal defense team forcefully denied on Saturday that he abused his power by pressuring a foreign government to investigate his political rivals, calling the two impeachment charges against him a “brazen and unlawful” attempt to hurt his chances of re-election.

The defiant rejection of the accusations came in response to an official summons issued last week by the Senate, notifying Mr. Trump that he faces removal from office if he is convicted. In a six-page letter, Mr. Trump’s first formal response to the charges against him, his lawyers denounced the impeachment case brought by House Democrats as constitutionally and legally invalid, and driven by malice toward him.

“The articles of impeachment submitted by House Democrats are a dangerous attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their president,” the document says. “This is a brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election and interfere with the 2020 election, now just months away.”

The president’s lawyers did not deny any of the core facts underlying Democrats’ charges, conceding what ample evidence has shown, that he withheld $391 million in aid from Ukraine and asked the country’s president to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son, Hunter. But they said Mr. Trump broke no laws and was acting entirely appropriately and within his powers when he did so, echoing the president’s repeated protestations of his own innocence. They argued that Mr. Trump was not seeking political advantage, but working to root out corruption in Ukraine.

“President Trump categorically and unequivocally denies each and every allegation in both articles of impeachment,” Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel, and Jay Sekulow, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, wrote.

Mr. Trump’s response came shortly after the House impeachment managers formally outlined their case for Mr. Trump’s removal from office, arguing in a lengthy legal filing that the Senate should convict him for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

In the 46-page trial memorandum, the House impeachment managers asserted that beginning in the spring, Mr. Trump undertook a corrupt campaign to push Ukraine to publicly announce investigations of his political rivals, withholding as leverage nearly $400 million in military aid and a White House meeting. He then sought to conceal those actions from Congress, they said, refusing to cooperate with a House impeachment inquiry and ordering administration officials not to testify or turn over documents requested by investigators.

“President Trump’s conduct is the framers’ worst nightmare,” the managers wrote, framing their argument in constitutional terms.

The legal back-and-forth on Saturday offered a preview of the strategies both sides will employ starting next week, when the Senate opens oral arguments in only the third impeachment trial of a president in the nation’s history.

Addressing head-on the political dynamics of the Senate, where majority Republicans have denounced the impeachment inquiry, the House managers warned that voters and future generations would sit in judgment of their actions.

“History will judge each senator’s willingness to rise above partisan differences, view the facts honestly, and defend the Constitution,” they wrote. “The outcome of these proceedings will determine whether generations to come will enjoy a safe and secure democracy in which the president is not a king.”

The filing from the House Democrats repeated many of the same arguments they laid out last fall in a report on the findings of their impeachment inquiry. But the managers’ brief provided a glimpse of their strategy for the high-stakes legal and political fight ahead.

The heavily footnoted document, formatted in the style of a courtroom filing, was headlined “In re Impeachment of President Donald J. Trump,” and addressed to the Senate, “sitting as a court of impeachment.” The memorandum laid out the evidence and legal arguments the managers intend to present in oral arguments on the floor of the Senate, likely beginning on Wednesday. The filing also included an additional 60 pages of facts the managers deemed material to their case.

As they have said for weeks, the president’s lawyers asserted in Saturday’s short filing that the articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump are “invalid on their face” because they do not accuse the president of breaking the law.

In Saturday’s document, the president’s legal team also rejected the charge that Mr. Trump is guilty of obstruction of Congress. They argued that Mr. Trump’s attempts to prevent witnesses from testifying in what the president has called a “sham” impeachment inquiry is a legitimate exercise of executive privilege that is essential to guard the authority and prerogatives of the presidency.

And they once again attacked the process by which House Democrats impeached Mr. Trump, accusing them of denying the president his due process rights.

The president’s legal team faces a deadline of noon on Monday to produce a more comprehensive legal brief laying out the defense case they will make on the floor of the Senate.

Mr. Cipollone and Mr. Sekulow will lead the president’s defense at trial. The White House announced Friday that the team will also include Ken Starr, the former independent counsel whose investigation of President Bill Clinton led to his impeachment, Robert W. Ray, who succeeded Mr. Starr, and Alan Dershowitz, a celebrity defense lawyer.

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting.

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Impeachment Trial Puts Susan Collins, Stung by Kavanaugh Backlash, Under Scrutiny

Westlake Legal Group 18dc-collins2-facebookJumbo Impeachment Trial Puts Susan Collins, Stung by Kavanaugh Backlash, Under Scrutiny United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Republican Party Maine Collins, Susan M Campaign Finance

WASHINGTON — A few days after Senator Susan Collins cast her votes to acquit President Bill Clinton, as she was greeted with icy stares at a Lincoln Day dinner in rural Maine, a fellow Republican approached her, irate.

“I can’t believe you let him off the hook,” he told Ms. Collins. “I am never, ever voting for you again.”

Twenty-one years later, she faces another presidential impeachment vote with heavy consequences for the nation and her own political survival. Ms. Collins, one of a handful of moderate Republicans whose votes could alter the trajectory of the trial, said she does not regret her votes to acquit then.

She said she would use the same logic behind that decision when she weighs the impeachment charges against President Trump in a Senate trial that begins in earnest next week.

“I, too, was furious at President Clinton and felt that he had lied under oath, but it didn’t reach the constitutional test of high crimes and misdemeanors, and was not sufficient to overturn an election and throw him out of office,” she said in an interview on Thursday in her Capitol Hill office.

In the case of Mr. Trump, she said, she would be “applying that same standard.”

Ms. Collins’s position as a centrist gives her outsize influence over the shape of Mr. Trump’s trial, including whether new witnesses and evidence will be heard, just as it has in some of the most important and impassioned debates during her four terms in the Senate. But that middle ground is shrinking in the Trump era, leaving her open to bitter attack from both political parties.

She was among three Republicans who sank Mr. Trump’s attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and she helped lead an unsuccessful effort to prevent him from taking unallocated money for his border wall. But she also voted for a tax bill that was the centerpiece of the Republican agenda. And the move that overshadowed all that was her deciding vote to confirm Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual assault.

Ms. Collins’s health care vote in 2017 fueled hopes on the left and anger on the right over whether she might stray from party orthodoxy. But the Kavanaugh vote and the tax vote reinforced her lifelong party affiliation despite her aversion to parts of Mr. Trump’s agenda.

That confirmation vote — and her impassioned speech defending it on the Senate floor — generated millions of dollars in donations to be used against her, and a lengthy period of harassment and intimidation by critics, including numerous death threats. There were so many hostile calls targeting her that a 25-year-old employee in one of her Maine offices quit. One day, her husband texted Ms. Collins a photo of himself in a hazmat suit; someone had sent a threatening letter to their Maine home — where protesters gathered eight Sundays in a row — that claimed to contain ricin.

In Washington, a man waited for Ms. Collins in the dark as she parked her car one evening in the pouring rain, then followed her several blocks to her townhouse. A neighbor lamented to her that he hated living next to “a rape apologist.”

“It just made the whole time very unpleasant,” said Ms. Collins, who faces a steep re-election challenge in November, when she will seek a fifth term. “But anyone who thinks that they can intimidate me doesn’t know me.”

Ms. Collins’s history, and her competitive race to keep her seat, puts her at the top of the list of senators under scrutiny in the impeachment debate. Reporters on Capitol Hill toil to divine her intentions; as the articles of impeachment were read Thursday on the Senate floor, Ms. Collins, who was suffering a bad cold, coughed and dabbed at her eyes, causing several reporters to call her office to ask why she was crying.

Her vote at the conclusion of Mr. Trump’s trial almost certainly will not determine whether he becomes the first president to be removed from office by the Senate — the 67 votes required, at this point, are not there. But Ms. Collins will be pivotal to resolving procedural questions, including a battle between Republicans and Democrats over calling witnesses and admitting new documents as part of the Senate trial. And Ms. Collins has signaled that she will buck her party and support both moves.

“I would anticipate that it is likely that I would vote to have more information brought forward, whether witnesses or documents or both,” she said Thursday.

Ms. Collins convened several meetings in her office with the Republican senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee to cobble together a provision ensuring a vote on the matter after opening arguments by both sides and questions from senators. If the four hang together on the issue, their votes would be enough — along with the 47 that Democrats control — to demand more information come out in the trial.

And her eventual vote on whether to remove the president will be politically significant as well, both to Mr. Trump and to Ms. Collins. Since he was impeached last month, the president has leaned on his party’s unified opposition to dismiss the whole effort as a partisan “hoax,” and he has made it clear he looks forward to an exoneration by the Republican-led chamber. Even a single Republican vote in favor of removing him would undermine that.

In Maine, Ms. Collins’s choice could prove even more consequential to voters, and perhaps play a critical role in her legacy.

“There is no doubt that there are going to be Mainers unhappy with me no matter what conclusion I reach,” said Ms. Collins, who said she has been powering through an enormous white binder detailing the trial’s substance.

The Kavanaugh confirmation, among the most bitter Senate fights of the Trump administration, may have shored up support among a Republican base smarting from some of Ms. Collins’s other votes, but it enraged many of the independent and Democratic voters who have helped keep Ms. Collins comfortably in office for years. It also set the stage and tone for the impeachment fight.

What appears to rankle Ms. Collins is the suggestion that her votes are mere political calculations. She often says she consults a bevy of experts, reams of transcripts and scores of interviews with people who have a personal stake in a policy outcome.

To prepare for Mr. Trump’s trial, she met with specialists from the legal division at the Congressional Research Service and had her staff put together a huge notebook about the 1999 trial procedures. She has read myriad transcripts of the House hearings and reports on the Ukraine matter and Mr. Trump, she said.

“I felt that the process that we followed in 1999 worked really well and produced a fair outcome,” she said, including the decision to call witnesses and examine additional evidence, which most Republicans are resisting this time around.

In voting for witnesses but rejecting one or both charges against Mr. Trump, Ms. Collins might anticipate she can satisfy both Maine Republicans, many of whom are very loyal to the president, and the many Democrats and independents she has always relied on for her victories.

But that is far from clear in such a hyperpartisan environment. And she will be running for re-election against several opponents in November, including Sara Gideon, the Democratic speaker of Maine’s House.

“I am definitely expecting this to be an all-out brawl from both left and right groups, along with the candidate and party spending,” said Michael M. Franz, a co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, which tracks political advertising spending.

Maine’s race already surpassed all other Senate races in terms of campaign spending for 2019, Mr. Franz said. “All told, I don’t expect either side to be dramatically outspent, since pro-Democrat groups see this election as one of their likeliest prospects,” he said.

Compromise legislation of the sort that used to help lawmakers in Maine, where voters love independence, is increasingly rare in Congress these days. (A notable exception is the recent North American trade agreement.)

Polls show approval ratings for Ms. Collins, long one of the nation’s most popular senators, dipping.

“Maine has a kind of model of what they want a political figure to look like, which has elements of being respected nationally, civility and a certain degree of bipartisanship and independence,” said Amy Fried, the chairwoman of the department of political science at the University of Maine. “However in today’s politics she has been pushed out of that.”

For example, Ms. Fried said, although Ms. Collins is seen as supportive of abortion rights and pro-environment, political advocacy groups that press for those issues are not likely to support her this year.

“Senator Collins is now the most unpopular Senator in the country because she’s shown over and over again that she will put the needs of corporate special interests and Mitch McConnell ahead of Mainers,” said Kathleen Marra, the chairwoman of the Maine Democratic Party, who says there has been a tremendous surge in enthusiasm and volunteer engagement in her state.

Yet incumbency can be a powerful force. Ms. Collins is known as a shrewd politician who has built ties to every part of the state and labors to scrape together benefits for its shipyards, lobstermen and large elderly population and to promote them when at home.

Impeachment could be a wild card.

“I feel confident she is beatable, but don’t feel confident she will definitely lose yet,” said Brian Fallon, the executive director of Demand Justice, one of the many groups spending millions of dollars to highlight Ms. Collins’s Kavanaugh vote. “It is still going to take a lot of work.”

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Democrats Release More Material From Lev Parnas on Ukraine Campaign

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_167089047_f0abdf0e-4064-4ed8-9f65-e6ca61106cf4-articleLarge Democrats Release More Material From Lev Parnas on Ukraine Campaign Zlochevsky, Mykola Yovanovitch, Marie L United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Presidential Election of 2020 Parnas, Lev House Committee on Intelligence Giuliani, Rudolph W Burisma Holdings Ltd Biden, Joseph R Jr Biden, Hunter

Lev Parnas last year in New York. House Democrats have been releasing the contents of Mr. Parnas’s devices over the past week.Credit…Seth Wenig/Associated Press

WASHINGTON — House Democrats released another round of information on Friday that raised questions about elements of the impeachment inquiry, including allegations about the surveillance of the United States ambassador in Ukraine and efforts by an aide to a top congressional Republican to pursue investigations sought by President Trump.

The information came from the electronic devices of Lev Parnas, the businessman who worked with the president’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani to pursue the pressure campaign on Ukraine at the center of the impeachment trial.

Mr. Parnas, who is facing federal campaign finance charges in Manhattan, has publicly turned on Mr. Trump and his allies. He petitioned the court to allow him to release the information to Congress, and has offered to testify in the impeachment trial and to cooperate with prosecutors in New York investigating Mr. Giuliani. And he undertook a media tour of sorts this week in which he claimed that the president “knew exactly everything that was going on that Rudy Giuliani was doing in Ukraine.”

House Democrats have been releasing the contents of Mr. Parnas’s devices over the past week in an effort to bolster their demand that witnesses be permitted to testify in the Senate trial.

The documents released by House Democrats included WhatsApp messages between Mr. Parnas and Derek Harvey, an aide to Representative Devin Nunes of California, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee and a leading defender of Mr. Trump.

Mr. Nunes has suggested that Mr. Trump and his allies were justified in pressuring the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., his family and Ukrainians who released information about Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

The WhatsApp messages show Mr. Harvey working with Mr. Parnas to arrange interviews with Ukrainian officials who claimed wrongdoing by the Bidens and by Ukrainians in 2016.

The messages also suggest that Mr. Harvey, a retired Army colonel who previously served on the National Security Council under Mr. Trump, met at the Trump International Hotel in Washington with Mr. Parnas, Mr. Giuliani and John Solomon, a conservative journalist who worked closely with Mr. Parnas on articles that injected the Ukrainian officials’ claims into the conservative media, reinforcing the pressure campaign.

The message exchange between Mr. Parnas and Mr. Harvey appears to include the passport of Mykola Zlochevsky, the oligarch owner of Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company that paid Mr. Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, as a board member.

Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Parnas pressured Ukrainian officials to commit to investigating the arrangement, and some Senate Republicans are threatening to call Hunter Biden to testify in the Senate impeachment trial if Democrats press for their own witnesses.

A spokesman for Mr. Nunes did not respond to a request for comment.

Friday’s release also included correspondence of an obscure Republican candidate for Congress in Connecticut who had suggested to Mr. Parnas that Marie L. Yovanovitch had been under surveillance while serving as the United States ambassador in Kyiv at a time when she had come under heavy criticism from Mr. Trump’s allies.

The newly released correspondence included WhatsApp messages between the congressional candidate, Robert F. Hyde, and an unidentified account with an avatar of a man and a number that began with Belgium’s country code, but was partly redacted in the release. Someone using the account sent Mr. Hyde an official government portrait of Ms. Yovanovitch, and indicated, “My contacts are checking,” adding, “I will give you the address next week.”

Mr. Hyde responded, “Awesome.”

The person using the account appeared to be familiar with Mr. Hyde, congratulating him “on your new business development” while sending updates suggesting knowledge of Ms. Yovanovitch’s whereabouts in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital.

Mr. Hyde appears to have forwarded some of the contents of the messages to Mr. Parnas, and when the messages between the two men were released this week, they prompted concern from Ms. Yovanovitch, who was removed from her post last spring on Mr. Trump’s orders, and from others.

On Thursday, Ukrainian police announced a criminal investigation into possible illegal surveillance, and F.B.I. agents visited Mr. Hyde’s home and business, according to a law enforcement official.

Mr. Hyde, who has a history of erratic behavior, initially claimed that the messages were a prank, saying on Twitter on Tuesday that he was “playing with” Mr. Parnas.

On Friday, though, Mr. Hyde posted a profanity-laced video and several messages on social media in which he identified Anthony de Caluwé as the source of the information about Ms. Yovanovitch. Calling him “some intel guy,” Mr. Hyde speculated that Mr. de Caluwé may have been manipulating him in an effort “to set Trump up.”

An Anthony de Caluwé with a Belgian phone number that matched the portion of the number visible in Friday’s release did not respond to a request for comment, nor did Mr. Hyde.

Mr. Hyde encouraged Democratic impeachment investigators to look into Mr. de Caluwé and said, “I’m sure if I disappeared or died or they gag order me, they’re going to use me as a smoking gun.”

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Robert Ray Wanted to Indict Clinton. He Thinks Trump Will Be Vindicated

Westlake Legal Group 17dc-ray-facebookJumbo Robert Ray Wanted to Indict Clinton. He Thinks Trump Will Be Vindicated Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Starr, Kenneth W Senate Ray, Robert W Lewinsky, Monica S

WASHINGTON — One of the newest members of President Trump’s defense team, Robert W. Ray, has had pointed words about the highest office in the country: “No person is above the law, even the president of the United States.”

But that was nearly 20 years ago when he succeeded Ken Starr as the independent counsel investigating President Bill Clinton. Mr. Starr is also a late addition to the president’s legal team for the Senate trial, which starts Tuesday.

At the time of those remarks in April 2000, Mr. Ray faced criticism for drawing out the Clinton investigation when many believed he should have been wrapping it up.

Mr. Ray was a federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York when he was called to replace Mr. Starr and had plans to indict Mr. Clinton when he left office for the same crimes considered during Mr. Clinton’s impeachment. On his way out of the Oval Office, Mr. Clinton and Mr. Ray struck a deal that would prevent Mr. Clinton from being prosecuted in connection to his affair with Monica Lewinsky, an unpaid White House intern, in return for surrendering his law license and paying a $25,000 fine.

After leaving the federal government, Mr. Ray went into private practice and currently works at the New York-based firm Zeichner Ellman & Krause.

In 2006, Mr. Ray turned himself into the police in response to a low-level charge that he was stalking a former girlfriend. A law enforcement official said the case was sealed, suggesting it was most likely dismissed. Mr. Ray declined to comment.

In representing Mr. Trump, Mr. Ray will be working with a goal of a quick Senate trial — the White House has suggested it would last two weeks and “vindicate” the president of accusations that he pressured a foreign ally to personally benefit him.

Mr. Trump is charged with two articles of impeachment — one for abuse of office and the other for obstruction of Congress by preventing witnesses from testifying in defiance of subpoenas.

In November, Mr. Ray said there was not enough evidence to convict Mr. Trump of a crime, calling the Democratic-led House’s legal theory “flawed.” And he praised Mr. Trump’s decision not to send witnesses to the impeachment hearings during a December interview on Fox News.

“The president certainly doesn’t have to aid in the impeachment effort,” Mr. Ray told Fox News. “He’s made a judgment now, and I think that’s probably the right judgment.”

William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting from New York. Kitty Bennett contributed research.

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Robert Ray Wanted to Indict Clinton. He Thinks Trump Will Be Vindicated

Westlake Legal Group 17dc-ray-facebookJumbo Robert Ray Wanted to Indict Clinton. He Thinks Trump Will Be Vindicated Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Starr, Kenneth W Senate Ray, Robert W Lewinsky, Monica S

WASHINGTON — One of the newest members of President Trump’s defense team, Robert W. Ray, has had pointed words about the highest office in the country: “No person is above the law, even the president of the United States.”

But that was nearly 20 years ago when he succeeded Ken Starr as the independent counsel investigating President Bill Clinton. Mr. Starr is also a late addition to the president’s legal team for the Senate trial, which starts Tuesday.

At the time of those remarks in April 2000, Mr. Ray faced criticism for drawing out the Clinton investigation when many believed he should have been wrapping it up.

Mr. Ray was a federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York when he was called to replace Mr. Starr and had plans to indict Mr. Clinton when he left office for the same crimes considered during Mr. Clinton’s impeachment. On his way out of the Oval Office, Mr. Clinton and Mr. Ray struck a deal that would prevent Mr. Clinton from being prosecuted in connection to his affair with Monica Lewinsky, an unpaid White House intern, in return for surrendering his law license and paying a $25,000 fine.

After leaving the federal government, Mr. Ray went into private practice and currently works at the New York-based firm Zeichner Ellman & Krause.

In 2006, Mr. Ray turned himself into the police in response to a low-level charge that he was stalking a former girlfriend. A law enforcement official said the case was sealed, suggesting it was most likely dismissed. Mr. Ray declined to comment.

In representing Mr. Trump, Mr. Ray will be working with a goal of a quick Senate trial — the White House has suggested it would last two weeks and “vindicate” the president of accusations that he pressured a foreign ally to personally benefit him.

Mr. Trump is charged with two articles of impeachment — one for abuse of office and the other for obstruction of Congress by preventing witnesses from testifying in defiance of subpoenas.

In November, Mr. Ray said there was not enough evidence to convict Mr. Trump of a crime, calling the Democratic-led House’s legal theory “flawed.” And he praised Mr. Trump’s decision not to send witnesses to the impeachment hearings during a December interview on Fox News.

“The president certainly doesn’t have to aid in the impeachment effort,” Mr. Ray told Fox News. “He’s made a judgment now, and I think that’s probably the right judgment.”

William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting from New York. Kitty Bennett contributed research.

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Supreme Court to Consider Limits on Contraception Coverage

Westlake Legal Group 17dc-scotus-contraception-facebookJumbo Supreme Court to Consider Limits on Contraception Coverage Women and Girls United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Supreme Court (US) Obama, Barack Freedom of Religion Birth Control and Family Planning Alito, Samuel A Jr

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed on Friday to decide whether the Trump administration may allow employers to limit women’s access to free birth control under the Affordable Care Act.

The case returns the court to a key battleground in the culture wars, but one in which successive administrations have switched sides.

In the Obama years, the court heard two cases on whether religious groups could refuse to comply with regulations requiring contraceptive coverage. The new case presents the opposite question: Can the Trump administration allow all sorts of employers with religious or moral objections to contraception to opt out of the coverage requirement?

President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act in March 2010. One section of the law requires coverage of preventive health services and screenings for women. In August 2011, the Obama administration required employers and insurers to provide women with coverage at no cost for all methods of contraception approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

But the Trump administration has said that requiring contraception coverage can impose a “substantial burden” on the exercise of religion by some employers. The regulations it has promulgated made good on a campaign pledge by President Trump, who has said that employers should not be “bullied by the federal government because of their religious beliefs,” and it added an exception for employers who said they had moral objections to certain forms of birth control.

The states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey challenged the rules, saying, they would have to shoulder much of the cost of providing contraceptives to women who lost coverage under the Trump administration’s rules.

In May, a unanimous three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in Philadelphia, blocked the regulations, issuing a nationwide preliminary injunction.

That requirement that employers and insurers provide women with coverage of contraception at no cost has had a large practical effect, Judge Patty Shwartz wrote for the Third Circuit. “Cost is a significant barrier to contraceptive use and access,” she wrote. “The most effective forms of contraceptives are the most expensive. After the A.C.A. removed cost barriers, women switched to the more effective and expensive methods of contraception.”

Judge Shwartz added that expanding the Trump administration’s exceptions would have predictable consequences.

“Because the rules allow employers to opt out of providing coverage for contraceptive services,” she wrote, “some women may no longer have insurance to help offset the cost for these and other contraceptives.”

The coverage requirement, sometimes called the contraceptive mandate, has been the subject of much litigation, reaching the Supreme Court twice.

In 2014, in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, the court ruled that requiring family-owned corporations to pay for insurance coverage for contraception violated a federal law protecting religious liberty. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., writing for the majority, said there was a better alternative, one that the government had offered to nonprofit groups with religious objections.

That accommodation allowed the groups not to pay for coverage and to avoid fines if they informed their insurers, plan administrators or the government that they wanted an exemption. Insurance companies or the government would then pay for the coverage.

Many religious groups around the nation challenged the accommodation, saying that objecting and providing the required information would make them complicit in conduct that violated their faith. An eight-member court considered that objection in 2016 in Zubik v. Burwell but was unable to reach a definitive ruling and instead returned the case to the lower courts, instructing them to consider whether a compromise could be reached.

In urging the Supreme Court to hear its appeal, Trump v. Pennsylvania, 19-454, the administration said the new exceptions were authorized by the health care law and required by the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Lawyers for Pennsylvania and New Jersey responded that the administration lacked statutory authority to issue the regulations and had not followed proper administrative procedures.

The court agreed to also hear a second appeal, from an order of nuns who had intervened in the case, Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania, No. 19-431. The two cases will be consolidated for a single hour of argument and will probably be heard in April.

The second case presents the separate issue of whether the nuns have standing to appeal. The Third Circuit ruled that they did not because a separate court order allowed them to decline to provide contraception coverage to their workers.

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Joe Biden’s Poll Numbers Are Steady, but Are They Immovable?

Westlake Legal Group 17pollwatch-facebookJumbo Joe Biden’s Poll Numbers Are Steady, but Are They Immovable? Trump, Donald J Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Polls and Public Opinion Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr

Welcome to Poll Watch, our weekly look at polling data and survey research on the candidates, voters and issues that will shape the 2020 election.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s presidential campaign has been defined by what it’s not as much as by what it is. He hasn’t made waves with big-ticket policy proposals, and he has mostly avoided skirmishing with his Democratic rivals.

And so, nine months into his campaign, Mr. Biden is in a remarkably similar position to where he was when he began: He’s the presumptive front-runner, despite a lack of agenda-setting plans or breathless enthusiasm from supporters.

Poll results can help us understand why. For one thing, Democratic voters appear to want a candidate who they think has a good chance of beating President Trump more than one whose policy views sync up perfectly with their own.

In a Monmouth University poll last month, this question was put to likely Democratic primary voters nationwide: Would you prefer a strong nominee who could defeat Mr. Trump, even if you disagree with that candidate on most issues — or a candidate with whom you see eye to eye, but who would have difficulty overcoming the president?

Almost twice as many respondents chose the candidate with a better chance of winning.

Polls suggest that Mr. Biden’s support is built largely on these very voters, who are seeking an experienced leader to reverse the Trump administration’s policies.

In a CNN poll last month, 40 percent of likely Democratic voters who responded said they thought Mr. Biden would be the strongest candidate against Mr. Trump. Only 16 percent pointed to Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Mr. Biden’s closest rival.

Democrats across demographics tend to agree that beating Mr. Trump is the main priority. As a result, Mr. Biden has built a remarkably broad coalition of voters, with support cutting across race, gender and educational background.

But a degree of insecurity still lingers. The former vice president has faced strikingly few challenges from his rivals or from debate moderators in recent months — a boon to his candidacy that could evaporate if his opponents’ tactics change.

“A core part of his support has never been driven by enthusiasm for him — it’s driven by a sense that he’s the safe choice,” said Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

“Unlike Sanders, whose core support is very much gung-ho for him and knows what they signed up for, Biden’s supporters are looking for the strongest candidate,” Mr. Murray added. “He has so far survived that examination, but that doesn’t mean it can’t change over the next few weeks.”

Indeed, Mr. Biden’s support dipped for weeks in the fall amid a surge from Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who was seen as possibly more capable of uniting the moderate and left wings of the Democratic Party. But her polling numbers began to waver after her support for “Medicare for all” drew criticism, and much of Mr. Biden’s support appeared to stabilize.

Democratic voters have grown more liberal over the past two decades, but moderates now feel more alienated from an increasingly ideological Republican Party than they did a generation ago. As a result, moderate voters still tend to lean Democratic, and they make up a big enough share of the party to play a decisive role in choosing its nominee.

“You have a lot of Democrats who are not beholden to an ideological position but feel comfortable with him,” Mr. Murray said of Mr. Biden. “They’re coming from all walks of life.”

About as many women support Mr. Biden as do men, and he is the most popular candidate among black Democratic voters — a key constituency, particularly in the primaries. (Mr. Sanders has encroached on that lead, however, and now trails by less than 10 points among African-American voters and other nonwhite voters, according to some national polls.)

Just as crucially, Mr. Biden’s numbers are as strong among white voters without college degrees as they are among those with a higher education. That puts him at a distinct advantage over Ms. Warren and Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., two of his strongest opponents.

And while Mr. Biden’s supporters tend to be slightly more moderate than other candidates’ backers, they are generally paying attention to the same issues. They are most likely to list health care as their main policy concern, with climate change second, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released this week. Those results are consistent with the party’s voters at large.

Mr. Biden has also benefited from the fact that Democrats are far more likely than Republicans to be looking for a leader with solid political experience, according to a multilevel analysis of voter preferences published this month by Monmouth. Mr. Biden, who was first elected to the Senate 48 years ago, is by far the most popular candidate among Democrats who prioritize experience in a nominee: Forty-four percent of such voters back him, the Monmouth analysis found.

Finding an experienced leader matters particularly to voters of color, especially women of color, the study found.

Mr. Biden’s one major vulnerability is among young people. Polls of Iowa, New Hampshire and the nation at large consistently find him polling below 20 percent among voters under 50.

And if he does not rack up decisive victories in the earliest-voting states over the coming two months, he could be vulnerable to the growing challenge of Michael R. Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City, who entered the race in late November and is not competing in the earliest states.

Polls show that Mr. Bloomberg is strongest among older voters, black people and moderate or conservative Democrats — all crucial elements of Mr. Biden’s coalition.

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Ken Starr Returns to the Impeachment Fray, This Time for the Defense

Westlake Legal Group 17dc-starr-facebookJumbo Ken Starr Returns to the Impeachment Fray, This Time for the Defense Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Starr, Kenneth W Senate Lewinsky, Monica S Clinton, Bill

WASHINGTON — The last time a president was put on trial, few were more responsible for putting him in the dock than Kenneth Winston Starr. Now the former independent counsel whose investigation led to President Bill Clinton’s impeachment 21 years ago will come to the defense of another president charged with high crimes and misdemeanors.

In adding Mr. Starr to his legal team on Friday, President Trump enlisted one of the best known and most polarizing legal figures in the country, and someone who in recent months has become a regular defender of the president on Fox News.

For a time in the 1990s, Mr. Starr was a household name, the prosecutor pursuing Mr. Clinton first over the Whitewater land deal and then over the president’s efforts to thwart a sexual harassment lawsuit by covering up an affair with a White House intern. To his admirers, Mr. Starr was an upright pursuer of a lying, philandering president who had dishonored the Oval Office. To his critics, Mr. Starr was a moralistic, sex-obsessed Inspector Javert persecuting a president out of ideological animus.

Mr. Starr’s investigation confirmed that Mr. Clinton had sexual relationship with Monica S. Lewinsky despite the president’s denials under oath and efforts to coach other potential witnesses to hide his indiscretions during a lawsuit brought by Paula Corbin Jones, a former Arkansas state worker who accused him of sexual harassment when he was governor.

Acting on Mr. Starr’s findings, the House impeached Mr. Clinton in December 1998, largely along party lines, but the Senate acquitted him in February 1999, concluding that the president’s wrongdoing did not justify removing him from office.

Mr. Clinton was separately found in contempt of court and fined by a federal judge and later struck a deal with Mr. Starr’s successor in which the president admitted not telling the truth under oath, paid a fine and surrendered his law license.

Mr. Starr, 73, was once a legal star among Republicans who served as a federal appeals court judge and then as President George Bush’s solicitor general, seen as a possible Supreme Court justice. But his time as independent counsel made him politically radioactive.

He went on to serve as dean of the Pepperdine University Law School and president of Baylor University but was demoted and later resigned from the Texas school after an investigation found the university mishandled accusations of sexual assault against members of the football team. The investigators rebuked the university leadership, saying that it “created a perception that football was above the rules.”

In the last 18 months, Mr. Starr has published a new memoir about his time as independent counsel called “Contempt” sharply criticizing Bill and Hillary Clinton and has become a regular commentator defending Mr. Trump against House Democrats seeking to impeach him for abuse of office and obstruction of Congress.

Mr. Starr has distinguished between Mr. Clinton’s actions, which he called clear felonies, and Mr. Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to provide incriminating information about Democrats, which he called “woefully inadequate” justification for removal from office.

“That is abuse of power,” Mr. Starr said on Mark Levin’s Fox News show in December shortly after the House impeached Mr. Trump. “We are going to impeach him before he’s done anything. Excuse me, you are using your power in a very vicious way. Whatever you think of him — you don’t think well of him; you think ill of him — it is not your business to use power in such an unprincipled way. Again, shame on you.”

His defense contrasted with previous moments when he criticized Mr. Trump. After Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, testified to the House about Mr. Trump’s Ukraine pressure campaign, Mr. Starr said it was “bombshell” testimony that would be cited by Democrats as evidence that “the president, in fact, committed the crime of bribery.”

But he later went on to condemn House Democrats for what he called an “anti-constitutional exercise of power” by impeaching Mr. Trump.

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Dust Off the Impeachment Tables, a Senate Trial Is Underway

Westlake Legal Group 16dc-furniture2-facebookJumbo Dust Off the Impeachment Tables, a Senate Trial Is Underway United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Roberts, John G Jr Republican Party impeachment House of Representatives Democratic Party Clinton, Bill Capitol Building (Washington, DC)

WASHINGTON — Twenty-one years ago, Capitol Hill carpenters custom-designed and built a pair of curved tables that could fit in the cramped Senate chamber and serve as work space for the House managers and White House lawyers during the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton.

Now, after sitting in storage for more than two decades, preserved as historical artifacts that might never be used again, the tables are being dusted off and moved to the Senate floor, part of a physical transformation inside the majestic chamber as it is converted from a place where legislation is debated to a one-of-a-kind courtroom where the fate of a president is decided.

“They made them after the impeachment articles were voted on,” James W. Ziglar, the former Senate sergeant-at-arms, said of the tables. Mr. Ziglar was in charge of the logistics for the Clinton impeachment trial in 1999.

Over the next few days, the oversize tables will again be wedged between the front row of the senators’ desks and the marble-and-polished-wood Senate rostrum, so they are ready next week for the start of oral arguments in President Trump’s impeachment trial.

It is just one of a host of subtle changes being made in the Capitol to accommodate the third presidential impeachment trial in United States history.

On Thursday, the senators voted unanimously to allow the sergeant-at-arms to “install appropriate equipment and furniture in the Senate chamber” — with the proviso that the furnishings “shall be placed in the chamber in a manner that provides the least practicable disruption to Senate proceedings.”

Because smartphones, tablets and other electronic gadgets are expressly forbidden when the trial is in session, senators will be required to leave them behind.

To accommodate them, Capitol carpenters have installed a cabinet of cubbyholes, complete with charging cables, in the cloakrooms just outside the Senate floor. As senators enter the chamber each day, they will be able to drop off iPhones or iPads in their assigned compartments, much the way kindergartners deposit their galoshes and backpacks at the start of the school day.

Additional cubbies have been stationed outside the Senate doors for visiting House members to drop off their electronics. Chairs and desks are being brought into the back of the chamber for staff, who will not be permitted to stand during the trial, as aides normally do when they congregate there during legislative debates.

While the senators may not use laptop computers in the chamber during the trial, the chief justice is permitted to have one, and the teams of House managers and White House lawyers can each have two.

Senators also authorized the installation of video monitors and other multimedia equipment, if requested by House managers or White House lawyers. (In 1999, both sides used large flat-screen monitors to play video clips during their arguments.)

And although there is still a raging debate about whether the Senate will hear from witnesses during the trial, the carpenters will be ready if it happens. Senators agreed to add “a witness table and chair if required.”

Outside the Senate chamber itself, brass stanchions with maroon velvet ropes are being set up liberally to control the crowds of journalists on hand to cover the historic event.

The addition of the new furniture is turning what is already a surprisingly small chamber into an even more cramped space for senators, the chief justice, a variety of aides and the two opposing impeachment teams. In some places, the president’s lawyers and the House managers will be seated mere inches from the senators who will serve as jurors.

It all appears so grand on television. But what can look cavernous on C-Span can feel quite crowded in person.

“You don’t realize how small the Senate is until it happens,” said Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, recalling the many hours he spent sitting at his desk in the chamber during Mr. Clinton’s nearly monthlong impeachment trial. “If it seems small the first day, I guarantee you by two or three days, it is really small.”

Impeachment also reshuffles the grand spaces outside the Senate chamber, upending the lay of the land in a body where prime real estate is allocated according to seniority.

During the trial, the President’s Room, one of the Senate’s most ornate, will become an office for Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the presiding officer. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist worked out of the same room, just outside a set of doors to the Senate chamber that are inaccessible to the public and the news media, during Mr. Clinton’s trial.

“It allowed the chief to come and go with less moving through the chamber,” Mr. Ziglar said. “That provided security and for him to not be hassled by senators and others.”

“They all wanted to lobby him,” he added. “After senators had tried to corner him, I did have to go to explain to them: ‘Guys, you don’t lobby the chief justice.’”

The House impeachment managers will lay claim to coveted office space just off the Senate floor, taking over a room that belongs to the Committee on Rules and Administration, down a hallway with tile mosaics of Presidents Abraham Lincoln and James A. Garfield. The vice president’s office, normally in use on days when he is in the Senate for meetings or to preside over a debate and cast a tiebreaking vote, will be turned over instead to Mr. Trump’s defense team.

Inside the chamber at the custom tables, the House managers will sit at the table to the right of the chief justice, in front of the Democratic senators. The White House lawyers will sit to Mr. Roberts’s left, in front of the Republicans.

During Mr. Clinton’s trial, that tradition caused some consternation for Republican House managers, who complained about being seated so close to the president’s allies. White House lawyers likewise griped about having to defend Mr. Clinton while sitting next to Republican senators.

Some things will not change when the trial begins. Each senator will sit at his or her own polished-wood desk during opening statements and hours of arguments from both sides. Those desks will not move from their usual location arranged in a semicircle in the Senate chamber.

But the trial tables are only for special occasions. Mr. Ziglar recalled that the Capitol carpenters waited to build them until it was absolutely clear they would be needed — after the House voted to impeach Mr. Clinton.

“We had already planned for it,” he said, “but we didn’t execute until the impeachment articles were actually passed, because that’s being presumptuous, I suppose.”

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