Transcript for Looking ahead to the impeachment fight
We want to turn to our other top story, the impeachment showdown, and president trump's senate trial this week. A new legal filing now revealing how the president's lawyers plan to respond to the articles of impeachment. ABC's David Wright has the details from west palm beach, Florida. David, good morning. Reporter: Good morning, whit. The president may be spending a quiet weekend here in Florida, but back in Washington, the lawyers are working overtime on both sides. House impeachment managers have filed their brief, essentially laying out their case, and the president's lawyers have filed their first formal response to the charges. Until now, president trump has made no secret what he thinks of the impeachment process. They call it the impeachment hoax. The impeachment hoax. It's a hoax. Reporter: The white house has offered little guidance how it will response to the substance. Mystery solved. This weekend, trump's legal team fired off this six-page letter. Under the heading, answer of president Donald J. Trump, insisting the president did absolutely nothing wrong, and calling the Democrats' articles of impeachment constitutionally invalid on their face. Quote, they fail to allege any crime or violation of law whatsoever let alone high crimes and misdemeanors. The letter also takes issue with the general accounting office's determination that the withholding of hundreds of millions of dollars in congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine was illegal. Trump's lawyers described the effort to remove him from office as dangerous. I think it would create a terrible, terrible precedent for future presidents if we were to weaponize the impeachment provisions. Reporter: House managers take issue with what they call the astounding claim that pressuring Ukraine to interfere in our election is the president's way of fighting corruption. It is not, they insist, rather it is corruption itself. Maked -- naked, unapologetic and insidious. Removal from office, and disqualification to hold, any honor, trust or profit under the Reporter: President trump doesn't plan to be in the country when the senate trial he's headed to the world economic forum in Davos, Switzerland. Tomorrow, the president's lawyers file their formal response to the house managers' brief, and then the house managers get a chance to respond to that by noon on Tuesday, and at 1:00 presumably, the main part of the trial begins. Dan? David Wright reporting from Florida. Thank you. Let's bring in ABC's chief anchor, George Stephanopoulos who will be hosting "This week" later this Good morning. Good morning to you. One of the unanswered questions heading into the trial, will there be witnesses? That's the biggest unanswered we don't know. This will be a vote on whether or not to have witnesses at some point in the trial, and we know that Democrats are going to try to force one at the start on Tuesday to fight over the rules. So far, it takes 51 votes to have witnesses. So far, at least four Republicans have said they're open to it. If all of them actually voted for witnesses, then indeed you would have them. Who would be called, when they would be called, whether both sides would call witnesses still wide open. And we just don't know if after these first couple of weeks of arguments those senators will actually pull the trigger and say, yes, we need witnesses or they can in the alternative say, we've heard enough. And with John Bolton for example if he's called, we don't know what he would say. Let me ask. We just saw the news this morning that we've seen the response from trump's legal team. They're calling these charges, quote, brazen and unlawful. From the standpoint of trump and Republicans, what's the best case scenario for this trial? Keep it short? No question about that. That's what they want. Their big hope is this all gets done very quickly, much more quickly than the Clinton impeachment trial, and the president can come to the house on February 4th, give his state of the union after being acquitted by the senate. That's the kind of time line that Mitch Mcconnell is working on right now even though he hasn't released the actual resolution. We'll see that. I think Tuesday, you're not even going to get to arguments. That's going to be a day-long fight over the terms of the resolution, what the timetable will look like, and what the resolution will be. We don't see opening arguments perhaps. Let's talk about the other standpoint now. You will have on your show this morning, one of the top managers of the house who will come over and essentially prosecute the case, congressman Adam Schiff. From the Democrats' standpoint, given that the outcome is likely predetermined and they don't have the votes to convict and remove, what would be a win? I think the Democrats have already answered that question saying that, listen. We're not saying this is a political win for us, but we feel it was our duty to do it. You can lay out a couple of possibilities. Number one, do they bring out witnesses that fill out their case and damage the president politically? I think the other possibility would be, can they find one, two, three Republicans even if they're not going to get those 67 to convict, one, two or three Republicans that would lead to a majority who thought they should convict. That would be a significant political victory for the Democrats. George, thank you very much. I want to remind everybody George has a big show this he has that interview with Adam Schiff, the lead house impeachment manager, and he will go one-on-one with Alan Dershowitz who you saw in David Wright's piece. He has joined president trump's defense team. That's all coming up later this morning right here on ABC on "This week," and do not forget. George will be leading our live team coverage of the impeachment trial when it resumes Tuesday, 1:00 eastern. George, thank you again.
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