Former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey on Wednesday called the performance of impeachment defense lawyer Bruce Castor “unthinkable,” joining the growing chorus of criticism after the first day of the Senate trial left former President Donald Trump displeased.
“That’s a prosecutor’s dream come true, for a defense lawyer to stand up during opening and say, ‘Wow, wasn’t that something? Boy, that was so powerful, we changed strategy,’” said Christie, who served as U.S. attorney for his state from 2002 to 2008.
At one point on Tuesday, the opening day of Trump’s second impeachment trial, Castor seemed to be so impressed with the House impeachment managers’ presentation that the defense team changed course on its strategy. To everyone’s surprise, he admitted as much on the Senate floor.
“I’ll be quite frank with you, we changed what we were going to do on account that we thought that the House managers’ presentation was well done,” Castor said.
Castor’s remarks portrayed the defense team as ill prepared, Christie said in a Wednesday radio interview with Fox News’ “Guy Benson Show.” Rather than assume that “the other side is going to be tremendous and prepare accordingly,” the defense team seemed as if it was counting on the incompetence of its opponents, he said.
“I mean, it is unthinkable to do something like that,” he said. “Even if you think it, you don’t say it.”
Christie’s comments on the defense team’s performance largely mirrored what Republican senators had to say after the first day of proceedings. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said that she thought Castor “did not present a case” and that she was “puzzled” by his presentation, and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said it seemed as if Trump’s lawyers were “embarrassed of their arguments.”
On Tuesday night, Castor’s trial partner, David Schoen, defended Castor’s performance to Fox News’ Sean Hannity, telling him that Castor and his law firm “seem to be very capable people” and that Castor hadn’t planned to begin his arguments on Tuesday.
“So, I’m sure they will be very well prepared in the future and do a great job in the case,” Schoen said.
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