Trump Lawyer Asks to Pause Impeachment Trial if It Runs Into Sabbath

It is unclear how Senate leaders will honor Mr. Schoen’s request. If they moved to fast-track the trial to ensure it was concluded by sundown Friday, it would make for by far the speediest presidential impeachment trial in history. If they suspended it as Mr. Schoen has asked, the proceeding could bleed into a federal holiday on Monday and what was supposed to be a holiday week for the Senate, when its members were supposed to get a break to go home to their states. If leaders opted instead to delay it further, that would punt planned action on confirming Mr. Biden’s nominees and advancing his pandemic aid bill.

Mr. Schoen said in a telephone interview on Friday that he had not heard from the leaders about a range of issues related to the trial, including its schedule and how much time each side would receive to present their arguments. Mr. Schumer, who has been negotiating with Mr. McConnell over those matters, is expected to announce the details shortly before the trial begins.

Mr. Schoen is part of a second group of lawyers who has stepped in to represent Mr. Trump in his second impeachment trial. The first team quit after its lawyers refused to commit to making the former president’s preferred trial strategy — that they defend him by repeating his baseless claims that the election was stolen from him.

Now, Mr. Schoen joins a list of prominent Jews who have run into issues in Washington over their observance of the Sabbath. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the former president’s daughter and son-in-law who are Orthodox Jews, said they had received special permission from a rabbi to attend Mr. Trump’s inaugural festivities in 2017. They said they had obtained a similar exemption at least once later in Mr. Trump’s presidency to travel on the Sabbath.

During the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton in 1999, the Connecticut senator at the time, Joseph I. Lieberman, who is an observant Jew, walked four miles from his Georgetown apartment to Capitol Hill to sit as a juror. Because Jewish law teaches that one may break the Sabbath if the matter involves “concern for human life,” Mr. Lieberman, in consultation with his rabbis, devised his own rule whereby he refrained from campaigning or performing any strictly political activity on the Sabbath, but would attend Senate sessions and vote, if necessary.

He did not, however, ride in a car or elevator, in line with a restriction that comes from a prohibition against creating sparks and fires.

Mr. Schoen’s request will now have to be factored in with decades-old impeachment trial rules and the schedule, work habits and politics of the Senate. The rules say the Senate should meet Monday through Saturday for impeachment trials and break only on Sunday, the schedule that was followed during both Mr. Trump’s last trial and Mr. Clinton’s.

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