The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 25, 2020
** BACKGROUND PRESS CALL
BY SOURCES ON THE PRESIDENT’S LEGAL TEAM
January 24, 2020
** 5:13 P.M. EST
MR. GIDLEY: Thank you so much. Good evening, everyone. Thanks for taking the time to join the background call regarding impeachment.
The ground rules are as follows: Information on the call is on background and can be attributable to “sources on the President’s legal team.” Again, that’s “sources on the President’s legal team.”
The content is embargoed until the end of the call. As a reminder, by participating, you do agree to the ground rules I’ve set forward.
With that, I’ll turn the call over for a brief introduction from [a source on the President’s legal team]. He’ll make some brief remarks and then open up for questions. And with that, [source on the President’s legal team], over to you.
SOURCE ON THE PRESIDENT’S LEGAL TEAM: Thanks, Hogan, and thanks everyone for joining.
We’ll finally have a chance, tomorrow, now to present the beginning of the President’s case. As I think you all saw from the beginning of the session today, Leader McConnell said that, to accommodate some of the Senate’s scheduling, they’ve asked for a shorter session tomorrow. So we’ll start a little bit early, starting at 10:00 and go for a few hours -- probably two to three hours tomorrow. And then we’ll be presenting the bulk of our case on Monday. And the remainder of our time then is, as we need it, next week.
So we’re looking forward to getting started. We’ve had to not have our chance to present the President’s case for a long time now, and we’re eager to have that chance, starting tomorrow.
And, with that, I’ll take questions.
Q Hi. Thanks for taking my question. Can you just lay out a little bit of what we can expect to be your arguments in the first couple hours of what you’re doing tomorrow?
SOURCE ON THE PRESIDENT’S LEGAL TEAM: Well, I don’t want to get too much into details of substance, but I think, given the structure that’s been set up -- asking us for a short day tomorrow -- you can expect to see, sort of, an overview of, kind of, coming attractions -- a preview of what the bulk of the presentation will then be, rather than getting into too much nitty gritty.
But we’ll be presenting a strong rebuttal to what we’ve heard for the past few days, setting that up so that we can get into all the details when we move on to the more detailed presentation on Monday.
Q Hey. Olivia Rubin, ABC News. I’m just wondering if you guys have any reaction to our reporting this morning about a recording of the President talking to Lev Parnas, and if that is going to impact your case or strategy at all?
MR. GIDLEY: Olivia, let me just –- let me jump in here real quick. Olivia, you can obviously address those questions to us. I know that Stephanie has a statement out right now. I’d refer you back to that statement.
As far as the case for the President: [Source on the President’s legal team], if you’d like to address that, go right ahead.
SOURCE ON THE PRESIDENT’S LEGAL TEAM: I don’t think that’s going to have any impact on the case. I don’t think that’s really going to come into play or be relevant.
Q Hi. Good evening, everyone. Thanks for doing the call. Can we expect that you and your colleagues will be presenting affirmative defense along the lines of the President’s repeated statements that his call was “perfect” or something similar?
SOURCE ON THE PRESIDENT’S LEGAL TEAM: Well, I think you can certainly expect we’re going to present a robust defense on both the facts and the law on the substance of the President’s conduct, because the President didn’t do anything wrong, and that is clear from the transcript of the call.
So there will be a very robust defense establishing, both on the call and -–
Q So is it going to be limited to the –-
SOURCE WORKING ON THE PRESIDENT'S LEGAL TEAM: -- other conduct -- and his other conduct, that he did not do anything wrong.
Q But does that -- so it won’t be limited to the transcript of the call, though?
SOURCE WORKING ON THE PRESIDENT'S LEGAL TEAM: I beg your pardon?
Q Your defense won’t be limited to what he said on the call; it’s all his actions you’re going to be defending?
SOURCE WORKING ON THE PRESIDENT'S LEGAL TEAM: Well, let me put it this way: We’ll be making a defense relevant to all of the charges. So it won’t be limited in just the transcript of the call, necessarily. That is the key piece of evidence. That is the primary thing that they’ve based their case on, but it will be a robust defense of all of the President’s conduct relevant to the way they’ve framed the articles of impeachment.
Q Hi, thanks for (inaudible) doing the call. How much are –- do you plan to talk about Joe Biden, and talk about the President, and defend the President talking about Joe Biden on the call, or –- versus having the process and saying that the process is unfair? I guess I’m wondering: Is a large chunk of your time going to be spent talking about why it was relevant for the President to bring up Joe Biden to the Ukraine meetings?
SOURCE WORKING ON THE PRESIDENT'S LEGAL TEAM: Well, I’m not going to get too much into parsing how much time or into the details of our strategy. But I think it became quite apparent yesterday from the House manager team that they’ve made it very relevant to the case, because they spent a lot of time bringing the Bidens into this case. And have established that there is something relevant to be discussed there. So we'll have to be addressing that, given the way that they’ve opened that up.
One last question.
Q Thank you so much for doing this. Can you address whether you will be filing a motion to dismiss? Could we expect that motion either tomorrow or early in the week?
SOURCE WORKING ON THE PRESIDENT'S LEGAL TEAM: I'm not going to get into strategy things like that. You know, we'll be presenting our case under the rules that were adopted and making a strong defense of the President because the President didn’t do anything wrong. We have a simple, straightforward case to present.
But in terms of strategy, exactly what we'll be filing or what the procedural steps will be, I'm not going to get into that.
Q Considering the evidence that was presented, should the case be dismissed?
SOURCE WORKING ON THE PRESIDENT'S LEGAL TEAM: Well, let me put it to you this way: If we were in a court, and -- sort of an ordinary court of law -- and this was a complaint (inaudible) on its face, we certainly would say it needs to be dismissed for insufficiency on its face. I think we made that point the first night.
But, you know, we're in a slightly different procedural situation with the way Senate rules are set up. It's a complaint that could be dismissed on its face, but we're going to be presenting our substantive defense starting tomorrow.
And I think that's it.
MR. GIDLEY: Thank you, everybody. Just as a reminder, this call is on background, attributable to a “source working on the President's legal team." Your embargo has lifted. Thank you so much.
** END 5:18 P.M. EST