Trump’s defense team expected to finish its arguments in one day

Attorney Bruce Castor confirmed the defense team is streamlining its presentation.

“We are cutting to shorten the case,” Castor said.

Besides Castor, attorneys David Schoen, Michael van der Veen and William Brennan are all expected to speak during Friday’s arguments, according to a person familiar with the latest plan. Using videos of Democratic lawmakers, they plan to argue that Democrats glorified violence by re-creating the January 6 riot, will claim the trial is unconstitutional and will stress Trump’s First Amendment rights.

Because the legal team is so disorganized, Trump’s allies are apprehensive about how the defense will go.

Trump wants to see more lawyers defending him on television, a source familiar with his thinking said Thursday. Schoen left the Senate in the middle of the impeachment trial Thursday to do a live interview on Fox News.

Trump erupted Tuesday as Castor made a meandering opening argument during which he praised the prosecutors. Several of Trump’s allies lobbied him to get rid of Castor that day, which Trump briefly considered, according to two people. Trump was upset as he watched multiple people, including his usual allies on Fox News, trash Castor’s performance. But Castor has remained on the team and is expected to present, at least in part, on Friday. He has told people he wasn’t planning on speaking Tuesday, which led to the muddled speech. Castor also admitted on the Senate floor that he swapped speaking roles with Schoen because Democrats presented such a strong opening argument.

Allies reassured the angry former president by reminding him he’s still headed toward acquittal.

President Joe Biden told reporters he thought grim new footage presented Wednesday could have changed the minds of some senators, but conceded, “I don’t know.”

Though Castor was supposed to lead the defense, as CNN reported, that’s now expected to be Schoen, who has said he will not participate in the proceedings during the Sabbath. Trump’s team believes they will likely wrap up their arguments by then.

This story has been updated with additional reporting.

Jim Acosta contributed to this report.

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