Donald Trump’s Impeachment Trial- Election Fraud
Washington — Former President Trump’s lawyers rested their case after less than three hours on Friday, seeking not only to distance him from the violence of January 6 but also to defend his exhortation to supporters that day, urging them to march to the Capitol. “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” he told them.
Mr. Trump’s lawyers invoked the principle of free speech and repeatedly showed a long video montage of Democrats saying the word “fight” in a variety of contexts to suggest that Democrats have a double standard.
Trump attorney Michael van der Veen argued Friday that the former president’s comments on January 6 were”ordinary political rhetoric that is “virtually indistinguishable from the language that has been used by people across the political spectrum for hundreds of years.” In addition to trying to make the case that Democrats have said similar things, van der Veen also called impeachment an “act of political vengeance” and “constitutional cancel culture.”
Van der Veen also falsely claimed Mr. Trump’s first two tweets on January 6 called for peace, although Mr. Trump’s first non-video tweet after the assault was to blast former Vice President Mike Pence’s lack of “courage.”
Trump lead attorney David Schoen alleged Mr. Trump did not receive due process because he did not see the House impeachment managers’ video montage, although the Democrats said had provided it.
“Shouldn’t the American people have seen this footage as soon as it was available?” Schoen said. “For what possible reason do the House managers withhold it from the American people and President Trump’s lawyers? For political gain? How did they get it? How were they the ones who released it? It is evidence in hundreds of pending criminal cases against the rioters. Why was it not released through law enforcement with the Department of Justice? Is it the result of a rushed snap impeachment for political gain without due process?”
Mr. Trump’s lawyers had up 16 hours to argue their case, although they used just two-and-a-half hours. Senators will then be allowed to ask questions. Schoen indicated that they would not use up all of the time allotted but said Friday morning he did not thing they would wrap up their arguments today. Witnesses could be called in the next phase, but it’s unclear if House managers plan to do so.
In their opening arguments earlier this week, House impeachment managers sought to link Mr. Trump’s words and actions before and on January 6 to the assault on the U.S. Capitol. In addition to showing Mr. Trump’s tweets and speeches, they showed video footage from January 6 that had never been seen by the public before that showed how close the insurrectionists were at times to lawmakers and to Pence.
Plainly a distraction”: Democrats react to videos from Trump’s attorneys
After accusing the House impeachment managers of using videos of Mr. Trump out of context as evidence, Trump’s legal defense played the video of Democrats, including some of the 2020 presidential candidates such as Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, attempting to equate their words to Trump’s rhetoric during the January 6th rally.
“You didn’t do anything wrong,” said David Schoen, one of Trump’s lawyers. “It is a word people use, but please stop the hypocrisy.”
Democrats did not take this line of argument seriously. Warren tweeted a video montage of her rally appearances shortly after Mr. Trump’s lawyers played the video, showing her embracing women and encouraging young girls to run for office.
“In case anyone is wondering what my rallies look like,” Warren said.