Trump's lawyers demand impeachment acquittal, accuse Democrats of 'hypocrisy'

Saturday, 13 Feb, 2021

"You didn't do anything wrong", Trump lawyer David Schoen said, addressing Democrats. He added, "You represent the president of the United States".

The California congressman is said to have asked Trump to call off his supporters from breaching the building, telling him that they were breaking into his office through windows.

Van der Veen, who tarred Postmaster General DeJoy in the suit as a "Republican Party and Trump campaign megadonor", had reportedly circulated an email to Pennsylvania voters arguing that state Republicans were "running a campaign to unfairly and illegally intimidate voters".

"The president's lawyers blew the House managers' case out of the water", said Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson. Throughout the trial, they showed clips from Democrats questioning the legitimacy of his presidency and suggesting as early as 2017 that he should be impeached.

As many as 10 Republicans could find Trump guilty, according to a Senate aide, which would still be short of the 67 votes needed for conviction. A final up-or-down vote to convict could come as soon as Saturday.

On Friday Trump's defense team denied he had incited the deadly riot and said his encouragement of followers to "fight like hell" at a rally that preceded it was routine political speech. Spokespeople for the House impeachment managers did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

There are three prongs to the Brandenburg test.

"He has encouraged actual violence, not just the word 'fight, ' " she said.

Bruce Castor Jr., another Trump lawyer, asserted that the preplanning was "confirmed" by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department.

Second, there must be intent from the speaker to provoke lawlessness.

"This pro-Trump insurrection did not spring out of thin air", Raskin said.

Third, imminent lawlessness must be a likely result of the speech.

Anticipating Trump's First Amendment defense, the House Democrats argued this week that the amendment protecting free speech does not apply in an impeachment proceeding.

On Tuesday, the Senate voted largely along party lines that the impeachment trial was constitutional even though Trump's term ended on January 20. Friday, she said, Trump's attorneys were "putting on a good defense".

The question, an echo of the 1970s congressional investigation into the Watergate scandal, came up throughout the trial and resurfaced during the question-and-answer period.

When asked if it's appropriate to meet with senators during the trial, Schoen said, "Oh yeah, I think that's the practice of impeachment".

"You can't incite what was already going to happen", van der Veen said.

Collins and Utah Sen.

"All robust speech should be protected, and it should be protected evenly for all of us", van der Veen said.

Among those targeted was Vice President Mike Pence, who had refused Trump's entreaties to interfere with the proceedings earlier that day.

In the end, lingering factual inconsistencies may not affect the outcome of the trial.

"One way to clear it up?" Bill Hagerty and South Carolina Sen.

They also argue that the trial itself is unconstitutional because Trump is now out of office and that Democrats' true aim is to remove him from the political scene.

Acknowledging the reality of the January day is meant to blunt the visceral impact of the House Democrats' case and quickly pivot to what Trump's defenders see as the core - and more winnable - issue of the trial: Whether Trump actually incited the riot.

Although Trump looks set for acquittal, even a few Republican votes against him would leave a historic mark on his presidency, fueling civil war within his party over whether to pursue his populist, divisive vision or return to more moderate values.

And he suggested that Trump wasn't literally calling on his supporters to "fight", but rather get involved in the political process, like supporting primary challengers of elected officials they did not like.