By Sam Manas
January 23, 2020
Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz launched a podcast this week, saying he’ll use it to air his daily musings about the historic Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. Cruz he is a juror along with the other members of the U.S. Senate.
His first episode of the podcast, titled “Verdict,” was recorded at 2:42 a.m. Wednesday, after the first day of the trial.
Throughout the first episode, Cruz referred to the trial as highly partisan and argued that the impeachment was a political attack. He also expressed hope that the president’s counsel would get more into the “substantive argument” that Trump’s actions did not constitute a high crime or misdemeanor. There are two episodes so far.
“Verdict” is running about 25 minutes per show and is available as a podcast and on video via YouTube. The co-host is Michael Knowles, a conservative political commentator who was featured in a 2016 Cruz presidential campaign ad. In the episodes, Knowles introduces the show and engages with Cruz in a back-and-forth. Cruz then summarizes the day’s impeachment updates and digs further into topics.
In the first episode, Cruz said that the impeachment managers — members of the House acting as prosecution in the trial — had “some good moments” early in the trial but that as time wore on, their arguments grew “redundant.” He said that impeachment managers’ cases failed to demonstrate proof of “treason, bribery or other high crimes or misdemeanors.”
Trump is the third U.S. president to be impeached by the House. No president has ever been removed from office by the Senate. The president is facing two articles of impeachment, one for abuse of power and one for obstruction of Congress.
The House voted largely along party lines in December to impeach Trump over allegations he used his office to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate a family member of his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. Only the Senate has the power to remove a president, with a two-thirds majority vote.
On the opposing side, U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia of Houston is among the seven Democratic impeachment managers presenting the case for Trump’s removal from office.
Cruz has repeatedly defended Trump and dismissed the seriousness of the impeachment allegations. He has falsely claimed that there is evidence of Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election and defended Trump’s actions in the call with the Ukranian president. In response, he’s received praise from the president — including a retweet of Cruz’s announcement of “Verdict.”
Announcing #Verdict: a podcast where @michaeljknowles and I discuss the latest from the @realDonaldTrump #ImpeachmentTrial and more as soon as I leave the Senate floor…Subscribe and watch/listen now on:Spotify https://t.co/GlfmUtCXLV YouTube https://t.co/l1altlHGpr pic.twitter.com/SUL9cRPOAf— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) January 22, 2020
In the podcast, Cruz isn’t shy about what outcome he wants for the Senate trial. Some of his colleagues have been critical about members of the Senate not taking their responsibility as impeachment jurors seriously.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said it was “inappropriate, in my judgment, for senators on either side of the aisle to prejudge the evidence before they have heard what is presented to us.”
She cited examples from both parties, pointing to presidential candidate and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, who was advocating for impeachment, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, who stated he’d work “in lockstep” with the White House. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, similarly cautioned Senate Democrats against making up their minds too early.