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Trump’s Senate allies Graham, Lee and Cruz huddle with defense team

By Colby Itkowitz

After the Senate trial adjourned Thursday, three of Donald Trump’s chamber allies, Sens. Lindsey O. Graham, Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, were seen entering a room to meet with the former president’s attorneys.

After their meeting, Trump attorney David Schoen told reporters the senators were just “talking about procedure,” called them “friendly guys” and said they did not tip him off to questions they would be asking.

They discussed “just how this format goes, you know, the question-and-answer period, all that,” Schoen said. “And then just talking about where they’re from and all that, but it’s just very nice. I said to them it was a great honor to have the opportunity to talk to them.”

During the impeachment trial, the senators are supposed to be impartial jurors, listening to the evidence from both sides before voting on whether to convict.

But most senators, including Graham (R-S.C.), Lee (R-Utah) and Cruz (R-Tex.), have predetermined Trump’s innocence, as many Democrats have already decided he is guilty.

Then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) set a precedent during the first Trump impeachment of conferring with the defense.

“Exactly how we go forward, I’m going to coordinate with the president’s lawyers,” McConnell said then in 2019. “The case is so darn weak coming over from the House. We all know how it’s going to end. There is no chance the president is going to be removed from office. My hope is that there won’t be a Republican who votes for either of these articles of impeachment.”

Democrats assailed McConnell for violating his would-be oath to do “impartial justice” as a juror in the trial."