Trump's defense team opens impeachment trial with 'demonstrable lie'

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White House counsel Pat Cipollone accused House Democrats of blocking Republicans from closed-door impeachment depositions. That is completely false.

Donald Trump's impeachment defense team kicked off the trial with an easily disproven lie.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone accused House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) of blocking Republicans from closed-door depositions it held in the early days of the impeachment inquiry — a blatant falsehood.

"Not even Mr. Schiff's Republican colleagues were allowed into the [Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility]," Cipollone said of the early days of the House impeachment inquiry, when the House Intelligence Committee held closed-door depositions in a secure area of the Capitol with impeachment witnesses.

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That is patently untrue.

Republicans on the committees that were part of the impeachment inquiry were allowed into the SCIF, and were able to ask questions. This is evidenced in the transcripts that were released from those very interviews, in which Republican House members, as well as counsel for Republicans, asked questions of the witnesses.

"A lawyer does not stand in front of the chief justice of the Supreme Court and lie, and Cipollone said the following, 'Not even Mr. Schiff's Republican colleagues were allowed into the SCIF.' That is a flat lie," former Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) said on MSNBC, referencing the fact that Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is presiding over the impeachment trial. "A demonstrable lie."

Schiff himself responded to Cipollone's lie in a speech on the Senate floor.

Schiff said that while he would not go as far as calling Cipollone a liar, he said Cipollone was "mistaken" when he said Republicans weren't allowed in the SCIF.

"I'm not gonna suggest to you that Mr. Cipollone would deliberately make a false statement," Schiff said. "But I will tell you this: He's mistaken."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.