'Death Valley in T.V.': Trump complains about his trial defense team starting Saturday

The president's defense team is expected to begin presenting their case this weekend.
Image: US-POLITICS-TRUMP-PENCE
US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence speak to the press on August 10, 2017, at Trump's Bedminster National Golf Club in New Jersey before a security briefing.NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP - Getty Images

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By Adam Edelman

President Donald Trump on Friday slammed Democratic House impeachment managers for perpetrating "lies, fraud and deception" and complained that his own legal defense team would have to start their arguments on Saturday — what the president said is called "Death Valley in T.V."

"After having been treated unbelievably unfairly in the House, and then having to endure hour after hour of lies, fraud & deception by Shifty Schiff, Cryin' Chuck Schumer & their crew, looks like my lawyers will be forced to start on Saturday, which is called Death Valley in T.V.," tweeted Trump, a former reality television star known widely for being especially cognizant of how things play on television.

Under rules for the trial reached by the Senate earlier this week, the House impeachment managers were awarded 24 hours over three days to make their arguments to remove the president from office on charges of abuse of power and obstructing Congress. Attorneys for the White House were likewise given 24 hours over three days to state their case for acquittal.

House case managers began their case on Wednesday and are wrapping up on Friday, meaning the attorneys for the White House will begin their arguments Saturday at 10:00 a.m. ET, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, announced on the Senate floor on Friday. The Trump team's presentation on Saturday will last for several hours, McConnell said.

Trump wants the maximum audience he can get and by having a few hours on Saturday that his team will be able to offer soundbites of their defense for the Sunday morning news shows to use, said people familiar with the process. On Monday, the president's defense will continue.

Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow said Thursday that the president's legal team is prepared for anything. "The senators are saying that they have the rules. Our job is to play by the rules they set," Sekulow said.

Shannon Pettypiece, Hallie Jackson and Peter Alexander contributed.