Former President Donald Trump’s lawyers made a combative, albeit brief, defense presentation in his impeachment proceedings on Friday. They said his pre-Capitol riot rally was “common political rhetoric” and blasted the trial as a “fraud” fueled by the “political hatred” of Democrats. for the ex-president.
Parts of the attorney’s presentation relied on the language and arguments of the former president, with his attorneys claiming that Trump’s second impeachment trial was “constitutional impeachment culture” while making numerous false claims.
However, during the question-and-answer session, attorneys did not say when Trump discovered the Capitol had been breached on Jan. 6 and what, if anything, he did to stop it.
Here are some key takeaways from day four of the process.
The Trump Defense
Trump’s legal team only used three of the 16 hours they had to defend the former president, but it was jam-packed with testimonials and testimony that reflected their client’s bombastic language.
The trial “is a culture of constitutional repeal. History will record this shameful effort as a deliberate attempt by the Democratic Party to smear, censor and cancel not only President Trump but the 75 million Americans who voted for him.” “, one of the lawyers. Michael T. van der Veen told the Senate in his presentation that included other attacks on the Democrats.
“Like every other politically motivated witch hunt that the left has carried out for the past four years, this impeachment is completely separate from the facts, evidence and interests of the American people,” said van der Veen. The property managers who present the case are motivated by “political hatred”.
“House Democrats hate Donald Trump,” he added.
Elsewhere, lawyers defended Trump’s remarks about “very good people on both sides” of the 2017 deadly protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Trump’s January 2 phone call to Georgian Foreign Secretary Brad Raffensperger, which the former president asked him to make “the number of votes he would need to win the state.
Lawyer Bruce Castor, like Trump, complained that the call to pressure Raffensperger to overthrow the state’s already certified results was “secretly recorded”.
Regarding the Georgia appeal, which is being investigated by state election officials and the Fulton District Attorney, Castor said that Trump’s actions were taken out of context and reiterated one of Trump’s debunked electoral fraud claims as fact.
Castor also said Trump could not have started the deadly January 6 riot in the Capitol because “President Trump is by all accounts the most police anti-mob president this country has ever seen. His real supporters know that.” He has made it clear throughout his presidency. “
Van der Veen, meanwhile, backed Trump’s claim that his January 6 speech was entirely appropriate.
“No thinking person could seriously believe that the president’s January 6 speech on the ellipse was in any way incited to violence or rioting. This proposal is obviously absurd at first sight,” he told senators.
What did the president know and when did he know?
During the question-and-answer session, Castor was unable to answer a question from Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska when their client found out his supporters had broken into the Capitol and what he did to stop it Slaughter.
Instead, he blamed his inability to answer questions about his own client’s actions for the Democrats’ quick move to prosecute.
“In the rush to initiate this impeachment, there was absolutely no investigation,” Castor said. When asked if Trump knew Vice President Mike Pence was in danger from the crowd when he posted a derogatory tweet about him, van der Veen later said, “At no point was he told that the Vice President was in danger.”
Property manager Joaquin Castro noted that the storm was broadcast live on the building and that the Trump tweet came after Senator Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., Told Trump over the phone that Pence had just been evacuated from the Senate.
Senior manager Jamie Raskin, D-Md., Noted that Trump had turned down a request to testify in order to present his version of events.
Fight, fight, fight
The property managers argued that Trump helped spark the Capitol uprising by repeatedly using the word “fight” at his rally earlier, including urging “fight like hell” or “you will have no more land”. Van der Veen said this was “common political rhetoric that is virtually indistinguishable from the language that has been used by people across the political spectrum for hundreds of years”.
To prove their point, Trump’s team played a long, contextless video of Democrats saying the word “fight” for years.
The 11-minute clip showed Democrats pronouncing the word 238 times, according to an NBC news count.
Senator Tim Kaine, D-Va., Said Trump’s pattern of behavior was different from a typical politician’s call to fight for specific policies or issues.
“Donald Trump was warned: ‘If you don’t stop talking about a stolen election, people will be killed.’ He was specifically warned against it, “Kaine said. “He kept talking about it and a violent mob attacked the Capitol and seven people are dead who would be alive today if he had only followed their advice. That’s what I thought about these videos.”
“This is not whataboutism,” van der Veen told the senators of the “fight” and other videos of the Democrats played by the legal department.
“I am showing you this to indicate that all political speeches must be protected,” he said. “I didn’t show you the speech to make up for my client’s speech.”
But Trump attorneys repeatedly compared earlier Democrats’ statements with the President’s, including Raskin’s unsuccessful attempt to object during the 2017 election.
“Mr. Trump’s words are no different from the figurative speech that each of the Senators gathered here today uses. If it is not the words but the big lie of a stolen election, why is House Manager Raskin not guilty?” Since he tried to overthrow the 2016 elections? The more the managers of the house speak, the more hypocrisy is revealed. Hypocrisy, “said van der Veen.
He also likened Trump’s protests to Hillary Clinton’s far more limited legal challenge in 2016. While Trump never conceded the election of President Joe Biden, Clinton admitted Trump the day after the election.
Trump’s lawyers also played a video of Trump saying he supported “law and order” contrasting it with Democrats, including Biden, who praised peaceful protesters after George Floyd’s death. The video then cut to a scene from a riot that Biden had denounced.
Van der Veen then complained that “the property managers played manipulated, selectively edited parts of Mr. Trump’s speech”.