Trump impeachment trial live coverage: The president's defense delivers closing arguments

After the arguments phase of the trial, senators will turn to questioning the Democratic House managers and Trump's lawyers.
Image: Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House voted to send impeachment articles against President Donald Trump to the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell officially received the House managers on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House voted to send impeachment articles against President Donald Trump to the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell officially received the House managers on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020.Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

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President Donald Trump's lawyers on Tuesday wrapped up their final day of arguments in his impeachment trial, calling the charges against him unfounded and politically motivated.

After previewing their case in a short session on Saturday, Trump’s legal team doubled down on Monday, insisting there was nothing improper about his dealings with Ukraine's government and casting blame on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

The president's defense largely avoided direct mention of a bombshell report involving John Bolton.

Highlights from the impeachment trial

Live Blog

Schumer: 'Steady drip, drip, drip' of info against Trump 'further implicates' him

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., predicted Tuesday that the longer President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial goes on, “the more likely that more new evidence will come out that further implicates the president.”

Schumer said there had been a “steady drip, drip, drip of information” with “one explosive article after another coming out” — most recently The New York Times’ reporting on “several stunning chapters from (former national security adviser John) Bolton’s book.”

The minority leader said the steady stream of additional facts pertinent to the charges against Trump was “reminiscent of Watergate.”

Schumer also dismissed calls by Republican senators for testimony from Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden during the trial.

“What can Hunter Biden tell us about the president’s conduct with Ukraine?” Schumer asked, or about Trump’s “obstruction of Congress,” he added.

“Nothing obviously,” he said.

Graham supports making Bolton's manuscript available to senators

What to expect from Trump's defense team Tuesday

It wouldn't be surprising to see extended wrap-up arguments from White House counsel Pat Cipollone and lawyer Jay Sekulow on Tuesday. (Note that by now, we’ve seen every attorney from the president’s legal team present at least once: Pam Bondi, Cipollone, Alan Dershowitz, Eric Herschmann, Jane Raskin, Robert Ray, Sekulow and Ken Starr.) Remember, Sekulow has repeatedly pledged to be “efficient” in the team’s presentations.

Timing-wise: A Republican close to the legal team told NBC News, “Bolton news makes those who wanted to vote for witnesses a lot less resolved. It makes the task for the Trump defense team more important to keep this moving quickly and be done this week.” The source also said the Bolton reporting "has sucked a lot of energy out of the room. They are having to build that back with a compelling case.”

Plus: A person close to Bolton told NBC News that a single hard copy of his book was delivered last month to the White House for the National Security Council to review. What happened to the copy of the book is unknown to Bolton’s team, but it appears copies of it were made. Bolton’s team submitted the book “in good faith” and now feels that process was corrupted. Bolton doesn’t intend to speak publicly about the Ukraine issue until questions about his potential testimony are resolved. If he were to testify, he plans to do so as a fact witness.

Have on your radar: More from the Bolton manuscript, per NYT: that he told Barr last year about concerns the president was effectively granting personal favors to the leaders of Turkey and China. 

FIRST READ: For the GOP on impeachment, it's Trump's way or the highway

After Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, voiced support Monday for calling witnesses after news of John Bolton’s claims from his new book, the newest GOP senator — Georgia’s Kelly Loeffler — fired back at her colleague.

“After 2 weeks, it’s clear that Democrats have no case for impeachment. Sadly, my colleague @SenatorRomney wants to appease the left by calling witnesses who will slander the @realDonaldTrump during their 15 minutes of fame. The circus is over. It’s time to move on! #gapol,” Loeffler tweeted.

(Later on Monday, we learned why Loeffler might have fired off that tweet — Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., one of Trump’s biggest defenders in the House, is planning to primary her.)

It’s all a reminder that, for Republicans in the Trump Era, there is no breathing room — unless you’re a Susan Collins or Lisa Murkowski.

Get more of First Read.

Rep. Crow: Trump's legal team 'peddled Russian propaganda'

Everything you need to know about the impeachment trial

Tuesday marks the third and final day of arguments from Trump's defense team.

Here's a brief recap of the trial so far: