(Natural News) Former President Donald Trump’s defense team made a brief but aggressive defense presentation in his impeachment trial Friday, Feb. 12. It only took the defense less than three hours to complete its presentation while the House impeachment managers took up two days to conclude theirs.
Trump’s defense said the former president’s rally speech before the Capitol riot was protected by the First Amendment. The defense also called the proceedings a “sham” fueled by Democrats’ “political hatred” for the ex-president.
Three different defense lawyers spoke and went after elected Democrats who have used the word “fight” in their own speeches.
Trump’s lawyer Michael van der Veen came out swinging, calling the impeachment an “appalling abuse.” He called the impeachment a “shameful effort” to “smear, censor, and cancel” Trump as well as his supporters.
Van der Veen, a Philadelphia personal injury attorney, also called the impeachment a “witch hunt” and an “unjust and blatantly unconstitutional act of political vengeance.”
He claimed that Trump was only asking his supporters to pursue legal political ends and called the idea that the former president wanted to stir violence a “preposterous and monstrous lie.”
“The reality is Mr. Trump was not in any way shape or form instructing these people to fight using physical violence,” he said. “What he was instructing them to do was challenge their opponents in primary elections, to push for sweeping electoral reforms, to hold big tech responsible – all customary and legal ways to petition your government for redress of grievances.”
Van der Veen said Trump’s call to fight in his infamous speech on Jan. 6 was not “in any way an incitement to violence or insurrection.” It’s just a use of “ordinary political rhetoric,” he said.
Trump’s team gives House impeachment managers dose of own medicine
On Thursday, Feb. 11, the House impeachment managers made the case that the mob of Trump supporters who ransacked the Capitol believed they did so at his direction. They documented how rioters echoed the exact words of Trump while they stormed the building, and how, once inside, many of them said they were acting at his behest.
It was the defense team’s turn to present video clips the following day. One video clip showed Democrats objecting to certain electoral votes back in 2016. It also showed Madonna and actor Johnny Depp using militant language.
The first person van der Veen mentioned was House lead manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, who was seen in the video claiming Florida’s voters were not “lawfully certified.”
The video stitched together remarks by a number of Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer calling to reap the “whirlwind.” It was backed by a soundtrack with beating drums.
Another video clip showed Democrat after Democrat calling to “fight” – with notable appearances by President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and the House impeachment managers.
The other House impeachment managers aside from Raskin were Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas, Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado, Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, Rep. Stacey Plaskett of U.S. Virgin Islands, Rep. Joe Neguse of Colorado, Rep. Ted Lieu of California and Rep. Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania.
“That’s okay. You didn’t do anything wrong,” Trump’s lawyer David Schoen said. “It’s a word people use, but please stop the hypocrisy.”
Schoen defended Trump’s remarks to the rally near the White House that preceded the riot.
“One of the House manager’s made much of the president’s supposedly ominous words, ‘you have to get your people to fight,’ but you knew what the president really meant. He meant that the crowd should demand action from members of Congress and support primary challenges to those who don’t do what he considered right,” he said.
“Support primary challenges, not violent action. I know what he meant because I watched the full video. And so did the impeachment managers. But they manipulated his words.”
Defense claims Trump hates violent protests
Trump’s lawyer Bruce Castor played another video – this one with Trump calling for “law and order.”
“We know the president did not incite the riots because of his plain words that day,” said Castor. “We know that the president would never have wanted such a riot to occur because his longstanding hatred for violent protests and his love for law and order is on display, worn on his sleeve, every single day that he served in the White House.” (Related: BREAKING: Investigators release huge bombshell that could change the entire narrative about January 6th.)
Castor said Trump had “disdain” for political violence, contradicting the House impeachment managers who played clips of Trump going back to campaign rallies discussing violence toward protesters.
“House managers manipulated President Trump’s words,” Castor said, blasting them for saying Trump urged the crowd on to the Capitol to “fight.”
Castor pointed out that Trump tweeted at 2:38 p.m. of Jan. 6 urging people to “stay peaceful.” He said that tweet went out “by the time word reached the president that there was a problem down there.”
The Capitol was breached at 2:11 p.m.
After wrapping up his own arguments, Castor finished up with with a partisan blast at the Democratic majority.
“The majority party promised to unify and deliver more COVID relief. But instead, they did this. We will not take most of our time today, us of the defense, in the hopes that you will take back these hours and use them to get delivery of COVID relief to the American people,” Castor said.
The question-and-answer period grew contentious as van der Veen used his time to repeatedly attack Democrats and spar with House impeachment managers.
Van der Veen sneered about a “newly-created Raskin doctrine” in an apparent dig at Raskin and accused Castro of twisting Trump’s words when he said Trump called on supporters to “fight to the death” on Jan. 6th.
“I’m not from here, I’m not like you guys,” he told the senators. He said he was being “very polite” and giving Castro an opportunity to “correct the record.”
“Instead what he did is he came up and illustrated the problem with the presentation of the House case. It’s been smoke and mirrors and worse, it’s been dishonest. He came up and he tried to cover when he got caught,” he claimed.
Castro came back later to say he was quoting from a Trump tweet where the former president had said Democrats would “fight to the death” if they had an election stolen. Van der Veen blasted him again, saying the comment was out of context.
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