Following the opening arguments of President Donald Trump’s counsel, Saturday Night Live parodied Republicans’ impeachment trial strategy and skewed the controversial lawyer Alan Dershowitz’s role on Trump’s legal team in its opening sketch.
The sketch begins with Beck Bennett’s Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell meeting with Cecily Strong’s Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) in the Senate.
Strong’s Collins brings up a moment in House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff’s closing arguments that Republicans expressed outrage over Friday night — Schiff cited a report that found Republican senators were warned: “‘Vote against the president — and your head will be on a pike.’”
As Vox’s Li Zhou wrote, “the outrage was swift,” with GOP senator Sen. John Barrasso summing up the Republicans’ response as: “He has basically offended every Republican senator in there tonight.”
Collins was one of the incensed senators, reportedly responding to Schiff from her seat in the Senate chamber, loudly saying, “Not true.”
SNL had Collins venting to McConnell after the day’s proceedings concluded, with Strong saying, “I was upset that Adam Schiff said Republicans are afraid of standing up to the president.”
She adds, “If Trump tried to intimidate Susan Collins, I’d walk right up to him and say,” she pauses, lowering her head and mumbling before blurting out, “I love you!”
Bennett’s McConnell listens, before airing a grievance of his own, expressing frustration over Democrats’ demands the trial include witness testimony and the admission of new evidence. The real McConnell has expressed interest in concluding the trial quickly, and Bennett channeled that desire.
“Republicans are simply requesting a fair trial — no witnesses, no evidence,” Bennett says. “That way we can acquit President Trump and focus on the real criminals in this country, teenagers who try marijuana.”
The senators’ lamentations are then interrupted by the arrival of Jon Lovitz, playing celebrity lawyer Alan Dershowitz. The lawyer is known for representing sex offender Jeffrey Epstein — and for facing allegations from Epstein survivors that the financier forced them to have sex with Dershowitz as minors. Dershowitz has denied these allegations.
“Yes, hello everyone it is I, Alan Dershowitz,” Lovitz says. “It’s wonderful to be here, because I’m not welcome anywhere else.”
Giving a satirical preview of the remarks the real Dershowitz is expected to deliver Monday afternoon, Lovitz launches into a defense of the president that includes mention of Epstein and his former client O.J. Simpson before having a heart attack, and descending into hell.
That’s when things get weird.
Waiting for Lovitz with open arms is the devil — played by Kate McKinnon — who introduces herself as a huge fan. She then sits him down for a podcast, and asks, “How did you come up with this Trump defense? Because years ago you said you don’t need a crime to impeach the president, and now you say you need something crime-like.”
The show is poking fun at Dershowitz’s inconsistency on abuse of power, which was highlighted last week when a 1998 interview of the lawyer surfaced. At the time, Dershowitz said a crime wasn’t necessary for the president to be impeached. During an interview with CNN last Sunday, however, he contradicted himself by saying, “without a crime there can be no impeachment” — arguing that abuse of power isn’t an impeachable offense ... despite the president having already been impeached for it.
For her next question, McKinnon asks, “Is there anyone you wouldn’t represent?” To this, Lovitz’s response is simple: “As long as a client is famous enough to get me on TV, it’s all good.”
The show takes a final dark turn when Epstein, played by Adam Driver, decides to visit his friend.
“I love what you’ve been doing for the president,” Driver says. “All we get down here is Fox News, and it’s been a joy to see you work.”
Lovitz is then introduced to a group of other inhabitants of hell, including the “Baby Shark” composer, Progressive’s Flo, and Mr. Peanut. Before he can get too comfy, however, he’s whisked away by Bennett’s McConnell, who is a regular visitor of hell (for sauna purposes, of course).
“I’ve made a lot of friends here,” Beck says. “And they give me great advice on how to run the Senate.”