With his Senate trial to begin in earnest next week, President Trump has added some high-profile lawyers to his legal team, including Harvard law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz and former independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr.

Word of the new firepower came as House impeachment managers and Trump’s attorneys scrambled to produce legal briefs ahead of the Senate’s return Tuesday after the holiday weekend.

The Senate trial opened Thursday amid new allegations about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, including an assertion from Lev Parnas, a former associate of Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani, that Trump knew of Parnas’s role in the effort to dig up dirt in Ukraine that could benefit the president politically.

The impeachment charges center on the allegation that Trump withheld military aid and a White House meeting to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, including former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

●Senate GOP hopes for a drama-free impeachment trial while bracing for Trump and his legal team.

●The Senate trial will shape the president’s legacy and also that of his Republican Party.

●Trump hotel’s mix of GOP insiders and hangers-on helped give rise to impeachment episodes.

Late Friday, House Democrats released text messages between Lev Parnas and Robert Hyde that indicate a third, unidentified individual was tracking the movements of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

3:15 a.m.
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Rep. Ted Lieu tells GOP colleague Devin Nunes to ‘Shove it’ in response to lawsuit threat

The politicians’ dueling played out, as it almost always does these days, largely on Twitter and cable TV.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D) alleged in December that fellow California Rep. Devin Nunes (R) conspired with Lev Parnas to undermine the United States. Parnas has pleaded not guilty to violating campaign finance laws.

Then an attorney for Nunes, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, sent a multi-page missive threatening to sue for damages to his reputation, Lieu tweeted. The Democratic congressman replied with a letter of his own and posted a photo of the document online.

“I welcome any lawsuit from your client and look forward to taking discovery of Congressman Nunes,” he wrote. “Or, you can take your letter and shove it.”

On MSNBC’s “Hardball” on Friday, Lieu doubled down. “It turns out that based on text messages in the record and the amazing interview on (MSNBC’s) ‘Rachel Maddow Show’ that I’m right,” he said. “Truth is a defense.”

House Democrats on Friday released text messages between Parnas and Derek Harvey, an aide to Nunes, showing that Nunes’s office knew about the efforts in Ukraine and wanted to use the information that Parnas sought.

Read more here.

2:30 a.m.
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White House releases full roster of attorneys on Trump’s defense team

The White House late Friday released the complete list of attorneys on President Trump’s legal team for the impeachment, which will be led by White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s personal lawyers.

They will be joined by a slew of other high-profile attorneys, including Kenneth W. Starr and Robert Ray, both former independent counsels who investigated President Bill Clinton, as well as former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi. Bondi had been helping Trump with messaging throughout the impeachment proceedings.

Jane Raskin, another personal lawyer to the president, and Eric D. Herschmann, a partner at the law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, will also be on the roster.

Rounding out the team is Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard emeritus law professor who said Friday that he was participating on Trump’s team to “defend the integrity of the Constitution and to prevent the creation of a dangerous constitutional precedent.”

In all, Trump has eight attorneys, one more than the seven House impeachment managers.

“President Trump has done nothing wrong and is confident that this team will defend him, the voters, and our democracy from this baseless, illegitimate impeachment,” the White House said in a statement.

2:00 a.m.
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Nunes aide communicated with Parnas about Ukraine campaign, messages show

House Democrats released new documents Friday evening showing extensive contact between an associate of President Trump’s personal attorney and an aide to the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee regarding the effort to obtain material from Ukrainian prosecutors that would be damaging to former vice president Joe Biden.

The text messages between Lev Parnas, who functioned as Giuliani’s emissary to Ukrainian officials, and Derek Harvey, an aide to Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, indicate Nunes’s office was aware of the operation at the heart of impeachment proceedings against the president — and sought to use the information Parnas was gathering.

The newly released texts show that Parnas was working last spring to set up calls for Harvey with the Ukrainian prosecutors who were feeding Giuliani information about Biden.

“Also do you want to interview the general prosecutor who got [ditched] by Biden ? Also the anti corruption prosecutor ? Let me know,” Parnas wrote on April 19.

“Does tomorrow work?” Harvey responded.

The messages also show that Harvey met with Parnas and Giuliani at the Trump hotel in Washington.

Read more here.

11:40 p.m.
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New documents indicate unidentified individual was tracking Yovanovitch

Documents released by House Democrats Friday evening show text exchanges between Parnas, an associate of Giuliani, and Robert Hyde, a Connecticut Republican who is running for Congress, that indicate a third, unidentified individual was tracking the movements and activities of then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

One of the texts refers to “a person inside” the U.S. Embassy able to track and report on Yovanovitch’s whereabouts. “Nothing has changed she is still not moving they check again today,” the message says. It’s not clear when the messages were sent, but they include a screen shot of a mention of a March 22 posting about Yovanovitch on Twitter.

The references to Yovanovitch are contained in screen shots of text exchanges between Hyde and an individual who is unnamed and whose phone number is partially redacted. The prefix for the number appear to correspond to the country dialing code for Belgium.

Another message indicates that Yovanovitch “had visitors,” and asks whether those involved in the monitoring efforts are to “stand down???” Another message suggests Yovanovitch was under watch for several days, saying, she’s “been there since Thursday never left the embassy.”

Ukraine authorities announced this week the opening of an investigation into the possibility that the U.S. ambassador was under surveillance or being stalked by associates of Parnas and Giuliani.

9:00 p.m.
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Dershowitz appears to distance himself from Trump’s legal team

Alan Dershowitz told Mediaite founder Dan Abrams on Friday that he was not a “full-fledged” member of Trump’s legal team — even though the White House confirmed Friday that he is on the team and will have privileges to argue the Constitution on the Senate floor.

“I think it overstates it to say I’m a member of the Trump team,” Dershowitz said in an interview with Abrams. “I was asked to present the constitutional argument that I would have presented had Hillary Clinton been elected and had she been impeached.”

He added: “I will be there for one hour, basically, presenting my argument. But I’m not a full-fledged member of the defense team in any realistic sense of that term.”

Dershowitz told The Washington Post on Friday that he would be making an argument in the Senate that obstruction of Congress and abuse of power do not reach the constitutional standard for impeachment.

A statement Dershowitz posted to Twitter on Friday morning said that he will present oral arguments at the Senate trial to address the constitutional arguments against impeachment and removal.”

“He is participating in this impeachment trial to defend the integrity of the Constitution and to prevent the creation of a dangerous constitutional precedent,” the statement read.

8:15 p.m.
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Trump ignores questions from reporters en route to Florida

President Trump ignored various questions shouted by reporters as he and the first family boarded Marine One on Friday afternoon. Trump is heading to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., for the long holiday weekend.

8:00 p.m.
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Senate floor reassembled ahead of trial

Shortly after 2 p.m. Friday, after a brief pro forma session of the Senate, a few dozen administrative staff members assembled on the chamber floor, hauling with them tables and chairs and large-screen TVs mounted onto stands.

To be ready for the trial, they have to reassemble portions of the chamber to fit the House managers and the president’s legal defense team. For a chamber that only recently allowed senators to use smartphones and computer tablets — and still forbids the media and the public from using any electronics in the galleries above — the transformation is quite a change.

Workers hauled in six tables with a special curved design (three on each side) so that they would fit the arc of the chamber floor. They also opened up a hatch in the Senate floor to run new wiring to the tables so that the two legal teams can use computers and for the video monitors.

7:00 p.m.
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New Trump legal members are frequent analysts on Fox News

The new members of Trump’s legal team have collectively made at least 365 weekday appearances on Fox News since January 2019, according to Media Matters for America, a liberal group that closely monitors the media.

A report by the group Friday afternoon tallied at least 125 Fox News appearances by Starr during the period, at least 110 appearances by Dershowitz, at least 60 appearances by former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi and at least 70 appearances by former independent counsel Robert Ray.

6:15 p.m.
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Pelosi to discuss impeachment on ‘Real Time with Bill Maher’

With the Senate trial underway, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is scheduled to appear Friday night on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.”

An advisory from Pelosi’s office said she will “discuss the next steps on impeachment, House Democrats’ achievements For The People and other news of the day.”

The program airs live from Los Angeles at 10 p.m. Eastern.

6:05 p.m.
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Trump once called Starr a ‘freak’

Starr, one of the additions to Trump’s legal team, was once characterized as a “freak” by Trump, according to a New York Times column by Maureen Dowd, which she resurrected on Friday.

“Remember that time in 1999 when Trump told me: ‘Starr’s a freak. I bet he’s got something in his closet,’ ” Dowd said in a tweet that included a link to her two-decade old column.

The column captured Trump offering his take on a range of people, including Starr, the independent counsel whose report detailing President Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky led to his impeachment by the House.

Footage also resurfaced Friday of Trump leveling similar criticism of Starr during an interview on NBC’s “Today” show.

“I think Ken Starr is a lunatic,” Trump said. “I really think that Kenn Starr is a disaster. … I really think that Ken Starr was terrible.”

6:00 p.m.
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RNC chairwoman takes fresh aim at Pelosi

Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel took fresh aim at the House Speaker and some of her top lieutenants Friday, asserting that a Senate trial would expose how “weak” the case is for removing Trump from office.

“Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler led a completely rigged and unfair impeachment sham in the House,” McDaniel tweeted, referring to the speaker and the chairmen of the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees. “Now that impeachment has reached the Senate, the American people will be reminded how weak the Democrats’ case is and there is nothing Nancy Pelosi can do about it.”

5:30 p.m.
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Congress shows the ability to legislate through impeachment

Moments before the start of the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history on Thursday, the Senate voted 89 to 10 to approve Trump’s landmark trade deal with Canada and Mexico.

This rewrite of the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, which allows Trump to deliver on a signature campaign promise from 2016, is one of the most significant trade votes in a generation. It passed with overwhelming bipartisan support from a coalition of strange bedfellows, including the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Final passage came a day after Trump signed a partial economic deal with China, another political victory for a White House that’s eager to defuse trade tensions in an election year.

The subsequent reading of the two articles of impeachment and the swearing-in of the senators as jurors soon overshadowed these hard-fought triumphs for Trump. But the trade vote nevertheless gives cover for lawmakers in both parties to reassure constituents back home that they’re getting results, even amid contentious deliberations over whether the president abused the power of his office to coerce a foreign government to announce an investigation of Biden to boost Trump’s reelection prospects.

Read more here.

5:10 p.m.
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Leahy says Starr’s addition to Trump’s legal team is a ‘weird choice’

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) said Friday that he considered the addition to Trump’s legal team of Starr — the former independent counsel whose report led to President Bill Clinton’s impeachment — a “weird choice.”

“I’m looking at it as a former prosecutor, lawyer,” Leahy said during an appearance on MSNBC. “He pushed the weakest impeachment case certainly in my lifetime, and now he’s up here to defend the strongest impeachment case in my lifetime. That’s their choice. But it’s a weird choice.”

4:30 p.m.
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Trump references impeachment as he welcomes LSU Tigers to the White House

Trump referenced his impeachment Friday as he welcomed the Louisiana State University Tigers to the White House to celebrate their national football championship.

Toward the end of the event in the East Room, Trump said he was inviting players to come with him to the Oval Office to take pictures.

“We’ll take pictures behind the Resolute Desk,” Trump said. “It’s been there a long time. A lot of presidents. Some good, some not so good. But you’ve got a good one now, even though they’re trying to impeach the son of a bitch. Can you believe that? Can you believe that?”

Trump’s comments came shortly after he was presented with an LSU jersey bearing his last name and the number 45.

Earlier in his remarks, Trump called the team “one of the greatest in college football history.”