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White House team plans to refer repeatedly to Hunter Biden.

White House team plans to refer repeatedly to Hunter Biden.

When President Trump’s defense lawyers begin to outline their case on Saturday, they will consider everything that Democrats have raised in their own presentation to have opened the door for discussion.

That includes Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., whose work with a Ukrainian company while his father was in office prompted Mr. Trump to press Ukraine for investigations.

Democrats have rejected any “swap” by which a witness the Democrats want, like John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, would be called in exchange for the younger Mr. Biden. But Mr. Trump’s lawyers still plan to mention Hunter Biden repeatedly, saying that Democratic impeachment managers introduced that window in referring to him during their opening statements.

The Trump team, for its part, appears to feel fairly confident that the Democrats will not have enough votes to call witnesses at the trial.

Among those lawmakers the lawyers have been watching closely is Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, one of four Republicans who have signaled a willingness to call new witnesses. But the lawyers say they have had no indication so far from his public statements that he will deviate from the party line.

As Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the lead House impeachment manager, wrapped up the Democrats’ 24-hour presentation of the case for removing President Trump, he took a few moments on Friday night to forecast the defense team’s counterarguments — and sought to shoot them down.

Mr. Schiff predicted that the president’s team would attack the impeachment process as unfair, charging that Mr. Trump was not given due process, the inquiry was unauthorized and the investigation was conducted in secrecy without a fair opportunity for Republicans to participate.

But Mr. Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee that steered the inquiry, noted that the House voted on ground rules for the investigation. Republicans had been afforded the same opportunity to attend the proceedings and question witnesses as Democrats had, he added, and Mr. Trump was given a chance to participate as well — just as Presidents Bill Clinton and Richard M. Nixon had been before him — although he declined.

“When they say the process was unfair, what they really mean is don’t look at what the president did,” Mr. Schiff said.

He also sought to dismantle the theory Mr. Trump’s lawyers have signaled they will invoke — one rejected by most constitutional scholars — that the president cannot be impeached if he is not charged with a specific crime.

That argument, Mr. Schiff said, was tantamount to a declaration by the president’s legal team that, “We can’t defend the indefensible, so we have to fall back on ‘Even if he abused his office, even if he did all the things he’s accused of, that’s perfectly fine. There’s nothing that can be done about it.’ ”

Mr. Schiff also suggested Mr. Trump’s team would accuse Democrats of impeaching him because “they hate the president.”

“Whether you like the president or you dislike the president is immaterial,” he countered. “If it meets the threshold of impeachable conduct, as we have proved, it doesn’t matter whether you like him. It doesn’t matter whether you dislike him. What matters is whether he is a danger to the country.”


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