After the prosecution spent two days presenting evidence to the Senate about Trump’s use of provocative language for the storming of the capital of 6th January, the former president’s defense took the stand accusing the prosecution of a “politically motivated witch hunt” against Trump. The impeachment lawyers for Donald Trump denied the charges that the former president’s words and actions incited an insurrection in the US Capital.
A Politically Motivated Witch Hunt”- Argues Trump’s
Trump’s defense lawyers argued that the latest case of impeachment was an “unconstitutional act of political vengeance” which has been “fueled by democrats” for their “longstanding hate against Trump. Their defense elaborated their case that Trump’s speech on 6th January was no different from a political peroration and is being wrongly construed as a speech to ‘incite violence.’
The former president had made remarks back then to his followers during his rally to ‘fight like hell’ before swathes of his followers marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington and attacked the US capital.
The basis for their argument was that Trump’s words and actions on 6th January were protected under the first amendment and was by no means meant to incite violence or an insurrection. The defense argued that Trump’s actions were the regular heated rhetoric that politicians regularly use in American politics. Their plea was supported by video footage with edited clips of Democrats and Senators seated as jurors in the trial encouraging their supporters to fight.
The prosecution vehemently refused to entertain the defense’s arguments, claiming that Trump’s conduct had directly resulted in an insurrection against the nation he swore an oath to protect, and therefore, the ex-president was not eligible for the protection of political speech.
The defense constantly tried to paint and re-paint Trump’s image as the “most pro-police, anti-mob rule president this country has ever seen” with repeated claims that the president asked the crowd to march “peacefully and patriotically” during his speech.
Mr. Van Der Veen, a personal injury lawyer standing in defense of Trump, said that this is an attempt by the Democrats to disqualify their political opposition and accused them of playing “constitutional cancel culture.”
Out of the 16 hours allotted to the defense to present their case, the defense used less than 3 hours with their presentation, following which the Senate asked a series of questions to the prosecution and defense. The closing arguments and the verdict could be in store as early as Saturday.
The prosecution had previously argued that the riots were not a result of the president’s speech but an attempt by the “culmination of Trump’s desperate bid to cling to power.” Their main contention was that the former president had betrayed his oath of office by failing to act or intervene once the siege of the House and the Senate began and his lack of remorse was evidence to the fact that he remains a “clear threat to American democracy.”
A delegate from Virginia Island, Stacey Plaskett, told the senators that the ex-president had failed to defend the capital of the USA and that the case was indefensible.
The managers presented a pre-emptive rebuttal against Trump’s defense’s contention that sought to rest the blame solely on the people who had laid the siege on the capital. The rebuttal contained a video that showed the culpable individuals shouting that they had been invited there by the ex-president.
The senators submitted written questions to both parties, which invited even more questions and contentious exchanges between the sides. A conviction to disqualify Trump and to hold him guilty from ever holding an office would require at least 17 Republicans along with all the Democrats.