Donald Trump‘s impeachment lawyer David Schoen has asked for the trial to be paused if it runs into the Sabbath because he is an observant Jew, in a move that could throw the timeline into uncertainty.
Schoen, who previously acted as counsel to convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, sent a letter to Senate leaders requesting the trial be put on hold past sundown on Friday through Saturday, according to the New York Times.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office, who is also Jewish, said the Senate will ‘accommodate’ Schoen’s request.
However a pause could string the impeachment trial out longer than is in the interests of both parties.
Both sides want a speedy trial with the Democrats almost certain not to get a conviction and keen to prevent further delays to the Biden administration’s plans, while Republicans opposed the trial going ahead at all now Trump is no longer in office.
Schoen, who is heading up Trump’s legal team, said this week he will argue the ex-president was not responsible for the MAGA mob riot that left five – including a Capitol cop – dead.
Donald Trump’s impeachment lawyer David Schoen (pictured) has asked for the trial to be paused if it runs into the Sabbath because he is an observant Jew
Schoen wrote the letter to Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Democratic Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the president pro tempore of the Senate who will preside over next week’s trial asking that the Sabbath be observed when the trial starts Tuesday.
‘I apologize for the inconvenience my request that impeachment proceedings not be conducted during the Jewish Sabbath undoubtedly will cause other people involved in the proceedings,’ he wrote.
‘The practices and prohibitions are mandatory for me, however; so, respectfully, I have no choice but to make this request.’
The Sabbath runs from sundown at 5:24 pm Friday until 6:25 pm on Saturday, with observant Jews prohibited from working during this time.
Schoen suggested that if the trial has not concluded by sundown Friday, it could resume again on Sunday once the Sabbath is over.
‘While I would not, of course, want to in any way interfere with anyone’s religious observance on Sunday, perhaps since the proceedings do not commence each day until the afternoon, Sunday proceedings will not affect anyone else’s religious practice (e.g. church attendance),’ he wrote.
Schumer’s office said in a statement Saturday that Schoen’s request will be accommodated.
‘We respect their request and of course will accommodate it. Conversations with the relevant parties about the structure of the trial continue,’ Justin Goodman, a spokesman for Schumer said, per the Times.
Schoen, who is heading up Trump’s legal team in his second impeachment trial, said this week he will argue the ex-president (pictured) was not responsible for the MAGA mob riot that left five – including a Capitol cop – dead
Trump was impeached for a second time for ‘inciting’ the January 6 riot (above)
Schumer did not go into detail about how an allowance will be made but is expected to announce the details of the trial including its schedule before it commences Tuesday.
Impeachment trial rules state the Senate should meet Monday through Saturday, taking a break only on Sundays.
Senators would therefore need to agree to holding the trial on a Sunday.
During Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial in 1999, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman consulted with rabbis before attending the proceedings on the Sabbath day.
He was given special permission to attend the sessions and vote but walked four miles to the Capitol instead of driving a car as this is prohibited on the Sabbath.
Meanwhile, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner previously got special permission from a rabbi to attend her father’s inauguration celebrations.
Trump’s impeachment trial will begin on Tuesday, after the timeline was already pushed back by two weeks to allow the Senate time to focus on confirming Joe Biden’s cabinet and debating the coronavirus relief bill.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (pictured) office, who is also Jewish, said the Senate will ‘accommodate’ Schoen’s request
It is not clear how long it will last but a week is being mulled as a realistic timescale as both sides are in support of a quick trial.
Sources told the Post it is very likely it would stretch into the night Friday and into Saturday.
If the trial closes early Friday and pauses for a full day Saturday, this could inch into the federal holiday of President’s Day on the Monday and the Senate’s holiday week or it could risk being pushed back further.
Trump’s first impeachment trial in January 2017 went on for three weeks as a number of witnesses were called.
It came after it emerged he had pressured the Ukrainian president for information on Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
He was impeached in December 2019 for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress but was acquitted by the Senate in February after only one Republican – Mitt Romney – broke from party lines to back the impeachment article.
This time round, it is also unlikely Trump will be convicted.
Trump was impeached by the House on January 13 for the second time with 10 Republicans including Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney crossing party lines.
But a procedural vote last week showed Senate Republicans were unlikely to support his conviction.
A majority of 55-45 voted against a motion that would have declared the impeachment proceedings against Trump unconstitutional because he is no longer in office.
While this paved the way for the trial to proceed, the vote showed just five Republicans back the trial with 45 against it.
Democrats need 67 votes for a conviction meaning they need 17 Republicans to vote to impeach Trump.
House Impeachment Managers’ Letter to Donald J. Trump
February 4, 2021
President Donald J. Trump c/o Bruce L. Castor Jr. and David Schoen
Dear President Trump,
As you are aware, the United States House of Representatives has approved an article of impeachment against you for incitement of insurrection. See H. Res. 24. The Senate trial for this article of impeachment will begin on Tuesday, February 9, 2021. See S. Res. 16.
Two days ago, you filed an Answer in which you denied many factual allegations set forth in the article of impeachment. You have thus attempted to put critical facts at issue notwithstanding the clear and overwhelming evidence of your constitutional offense. In light of your disputing these factual allegations, I write to invite you to provide testimony under oath, either before or during the Senate impeachment trial, concerning your conduct on January 6, 2021. We would propose that you provide your testimony (of course including cross-examination) as early as Monday, February 8, 2021, and not later than Thursday, February 11, 2021. We would be pleased to arrange such testimony at a mutually convenient time and place.
Presidents Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton both provided testimony while in office—and the Supreme Court held just last year that you were not immune from legal process while serving as President—so there is no doubt that you can testify in these proceedings. Indeed, whereas a sitting President might raise concerns about distraction from their official duties, that concern is obviously inapplicable here. We therefore anticipate your availability to testify.
If you decline this invitation, we reserve any and all rights, including the right to establish at trial that your refusal to testify supports a strong adverse inference regarding your actions (and inaction) on January 6, 2021.
I would request that you respond to this letter by no later than Friday, February 5, 2021 at 5pm. I look forward to your response and to your testimony.
Very truly yours,
Jamie Raskin Lead Impeachment Manager
With most Republicans opposed to the trial taking place and not necessarily wanting the events that led to the January 6 riot rehashed, the party is hoping for a speedy trial.
And with Trump likely to be cleared, Democrats too want to get the trial out of the way so the new president can continue confirming his cabinet members and tackling the pandemic.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said Wednesday that ‘the sooner we get on to solving COVID and solving climate, the better. So I think if this gets drawn out too much, it doesn’t help anybody.’
Senator Bernie Sanders has also called for a quick trial so the Senate can get on with helping ‘working families.’
Schoen, a Fox News commentator, was appointed by Trump on Sunday to lead his defense in his historic second impeachment trial.
Also on the team is Bruce Castor, the former district attorney in Pennsylvania who declined to prosecute Bill Cosby.
They were appointed after Trump parted with his legal team last weekend amid reports they were unwilling to push his unfounded election fraud claims in the trial.
In the trial beginning next week, Democrats will argue Trump ‘incited the insurrection’ on January 6 that left five dead.
Schoen, a Fox News commentator, was appointed by Trump on Sunday to lead his defense in his historic second impeachment trial
Before the riot, Trump told his supporters to ‘fight like hell’ to overturn his election defeat.
Prosecutors say the former president was ‘singularly responsible’ for the riot, and that he must be convicted and barred from standing for office again.
Schoen told the New York Times this week the defense will argue the MAGA mob rioters planned the attack before Trump’s speech where he told them to ‘fight’ and did not know what they were plotting.
‘I have no reason to believe anyone involved with Trump was in the know,’ Schoen said.
Schoen also said Trump had never pressured him to base his legal arguments on his unfounded allegations of widespread voter fraud.
Lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin sent a letter to Trump this week inviting him to testify under oath at his trial.
Trump adviser Jason Miller responded hours later saying Trump will not testify and dismissing the trial as ‘an unconstitutional proceeding’.
READ DONALD TRUMP’S FULL DEFENSE STATEMENT