After two days of impeachment, House officials argue that Mr. Trump incited the rioters and did nothing to stop the riot as it unfolded – using new and disturbing footage of the attack to get his message across – Mr. Trump’s team should respond that the Democrats’ speech glorified violence and that Mr. Trump’s speech urging his supporters to “fight” was figurative and protected by the First Amendment.
“When you use the word ‘struggle’ most of the time in a case, it’s clear that these are lawmakers fighting for our rights, people fighting for protection, and you know everyone likes to ignore the word ‘peaceful,’” Trump’s lawyer David Schoen told reporters Thursday.
The presentation will certainly be shorter than the two-day Democratic contest. Sean told reporters Thursday that Trump’s team will present on Friday for about three to four hours of the 16 hours the team has available. Trump’s lawyers should be done with their work on Friday and not use the second day to present their case.
This swift action is another sign that Trump’s team’s goal on Friday is simple: do no harm. Unlike Democratic managers who hoped to win over Republican senators, Trump’s lawyers assume they already have the votes needed for an acquittal, since most Republican senators say they will vote for an acquittal because they think the process is unconstitutional.
At the same time, the presentation of Trump’s defense on Friday could play a key role in the number of Republican senators who will vote that Trump is guilty, after six voted that Tuesday’s trial itself is constitutional.
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After the incoherent speeches of attorney Bruce Castor last Tuesday – who came under fire from Republican senators and an angry Trump – Sean is expected to take the lead on Friday. Trump’s four lawyers – Sean, Castor, Michael van der Veen and William Brennan – will speak.
The team plans to use a video about the Democrats’ record, which includes Democratic leaders who use language similar to Trump’s, according to a source close to the former president’s legal team. The current Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, also told the U.S. Supreme Court last year, “I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, that you’ve let a whirlwind escape, and you’re going to pay for that. You will not know what happens if you continue with these terrible decisions,” referring to Supreme Court justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
Of course, Schumer’s comments did not lead to violence or an attempt to undo the election results. But Trump’s team plans to argue that it was never Trump’s intention for his protesters to take control of Capitol Hill.
Trump’s lawyers are also expected to focus on his remarks in a speech on Jan. 6, in which he said he supported the “peaceful and patriotic” protests and that they should “fight like hell.”
Several key GOP senators, including Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah, who are jurors in the impeachment trial, met with Trump’s lawyers after the impeachment hearings were introduced Thursday afternoon.
“We discussed their legal strategy and shared our thoughts,” Mr. Cruz said after the meeting. “I think the end result of this indictment process is clear to everyone . . Every member of the Senate understands that there cannot and should not be a vote for conviction.”
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