Categories: Politics

Donald Trump’s Deeply Cynical Impeachment Defense



Ex-President Donald Trump’s authorized staff introduced an countless stream of lies, dangerous religion arguments and out-of-context clips on Friday in an effort to excuse the previous president for riling up his supporters to storm the the Capitol, watching silently as they violently overtook the constructing, after which, when he lastly referred to as for peace, nonetheless praising the violent mob. 

As a substitute, his impeachment protection attorneys confirmed Democrats utilizing the phrase “struggle” over and over, falsely claimed “antifa” stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, and introduced clips of Black Lives Matter protests to distract from Trump’s lengthy file of encouraging violence.

“Not like the left, President Trump has been solely constant in his opposition to mob violence,” Trump lawyer Michael van der Veen mentioned. “For Democrats, they’ve clearly demonstrated that the opposition to mobs and their view of utilizing the Nationwide Guard relies upon upon the mobs’ political opinions.”

The protection presentation got here after two days of Home Democratic managers laying out Trump’s lengthy historical past of encouraging violence. Trump’s staff tried to show the main focus elsewhere. They’re , since they’re more likely to succeed whether or not they make a powerful protection or not. Most Republicans voted earlier this week that the whole trial ought to be dismissed as a result of Trump is not the president. Not like that vote, which required solely a easy majority to proceed, a conviction within the Senate requires a two-thirds vote — a bar that appears unattainable for Democrats.

Nonetheless, Trump’s impeachment managers have been compelled to supply one thing in his protection, past that he can’t be impeached now that he’s out of workplace. They wrapped up after lower than three hours of protection, although they have been allotted 16, and spent a few of that point replaying the identical clips.

“Not solely President Trump’s speech on January 6, however certainly his whole problem to the election consequence, was squarely targeted on how the correct civic course of might deal with any considerations to the established authorized and constitutional system,” mentioned van der Veen, who beforehand mentioned in an impeachment trial temporary that Trump was proper to say he’d received the election in a landslide.

On this screenshot taken from a webcast, former President Donald Trump’s protection lawyer Michael van der Veen speaks on the fourth day of Trump’s second impeachment trial on the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 12 in Washington, D.C.

An aide working behind the scenes for Trump’s authorized staff informed HuffPost this week that, after the disastrous efficiency on Tuesday, Trump’s political aides directed the attorneys to think about the trial extra as a press convention being held after they’d already received. The aide mentioned the authorized staff was strolling into the chamber with 45 GOP votes to acquit of their pockets, they usually shouldn’t attempt to win the impeachment case prefer it was an precise trial earlier than a decide. 

The ensuing technique was a presentation of an alternate actuality untethered to Jan. 6 or the Democratic arguments. Trump’s attorneys supplied a completely completely different view of Trump than the world has identified for the previous 5 years ― one who by no means mentioned there have been “very high-quality folks” among the many white nationalist rally in Charlottesville in 2017, or meant violence when he informed supporters to “struggle like hell” on Jan. 6. They put a video collectively of Democratic impeachment managers merely utilizing the phrase “reportedly” to point out that a lot of the proof Democrats introduced got here from information experiences. They recycled clips of Democrats urging for Trump’s impeachment throughout earlier scandals.

The deal with language utilized by Democrats ― usually utilizing the identical clips a number of occasions, together with celebrities together with precise politicians ― disregarded the essential indisputable fact that Democrats speaking about “combating” didn’t result in insurrections. 

Trump’s protection additionally targeted narrowly on his speech Jan. 6, moderately than rebutting Democrats’ argument that his feedback that day have been a part of a protracted marketing campaign to argue the election had been stolen and his supporters should act.


Trump’s supporters — as they’ve repeatedly mentioned in courtroom statements — took Trump’s name to arms actually. They stormed the Capitol as a result of that’s what Trump appeared to need them to do — to “cease the steal” and “cease the rely.”

Most likely probably the most egregious declare Trump’s attorneys made was that it truly wasn’t Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6; it was varied unidentified “extremists” and the supposedly fearsome anti-fascist group generally known as antifa.

After Trump held a rally outdoors the White Home that day, “a small group trying to interact in violent and menacing habits hijacked the occasion for their very own functions,” van der Veen mentioned. 

“In accordance with publicly obtainable reporting it’s obvious that extremists of assorted completely different stripes and political persuasions preplanned and premeditated an assault on the Capitol,” van der Veen mentioned. “One of many first folks arrested was a pacesetter of antifa. Sadly, he was additionally among the many first to be launched.”

It was Trump supporters who attacked the Capitol ― Trump supporters sporting Trump shirts and Trump hats, waving Trump flags and screaming Trump’s title as they sought to cease Congress from certifying Trump’s loss within the November election. Each {photograph} from that day reveals their political paraphernalia; members of Congress and HuffPost reporters noticed them firsthand each inside and outdoors the Capitol.

The “chief of antifa” van der Veen had in thoughts might be John Sullivan, an odd duck who beforehand organized protests for racial justice in Utah however who had been disowned by Black Lives Matter activists there. It’s dishonest to recommend he’s a consultant instance of the individuals who stormed the Capitol ― dozens and dozens of individuals arrested for his or her involvement within the riot have mentioned on social media and admitted to regulation enforcement they have been there with a view to assist the president as a result of the president informed them to do it. 

It’s not the primary time Trump’s authorized staff urged it wasn’t Trump supporters on the Capitol. Additionally they claimed in a proper temporary this week that “the individuals who criminally breached the Capitol did so of their very own accord and for their very own causes.”

The presentation additionally constructed on the tradition warfare arguments Trump’s staff made throughout their look on Tuesday. Van der Veen mentioned impeachment was “constitutional cancel tradition.” The Black Lives Matter protest footage was overwhelmingly violent. And so they even urged that Democrats have been merely misunderstanding Christianity after they famous that Trump retweeted an announcement that “calvary” was approaching Jan. 6. It wasn’t a misspelling of “cavalry,” they mentioned. It was a reference to Jesus’s crucifixion

No matter it takes to argue Trump did nothing fallacious.


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