North Carolina Primary Election Results: 11th House District

Feb 13, 2021 Travel News

Indictment briefing: a combative defense

This is the impeachment bulletin, the Times newsletter on the impeachment inquiry. Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox.

  • Lawyers for Donald J. Trump delivered a brief defense, using only three of the 16 hours allotted.

  • His lawyers have claimed, contrary to the facts, that Mr. Trump never glorified violence and mistakenly equated his conduct with Democrats’ use of combative rhetoric.

  • Senators from both sides submitted written questions answered by House administrators and Mr. Trump’s defense attorneys.

  • In the breaks, Republican senators spoke positively about defense. In the absence of major changes, it seems unlikely that there will be enough votes in the Senate to condemn Mr. Trump.

  • Officer Eugene Goodman, hailed as a hero for deflecting the crowd and saving Senators from peril on Jan.6, received a standing ovation and will receive the Congressional Gold Medal.

  • The trial adjourned until Saturday, when it is likely to end.

Mr. Trump’s impeachment team presented an inflammatory defense of the former president, calling the House accusation of inciting an insurgency on Capitol Hill a “preposterous and monstrous lie.”

  • Just before the riot, Mr. Trump told his supporters, “If you don’t fight like hell, you won’t have a country.” In an attempt to suggest the metaphorical nature of political speeches, Mr. Trump’s lawyers have presented video montages of elected Democrats and some celebrities uttering the word “fight.”

  • “Suddenly the word ‘fight’ is banned?” said Michael T. van der Veen, one of the lawyers hired in recent days to defend Mr. Trump. “Spare us hypocrisy and false indignation.”

  • “OK, you made the point that it’s possible to use the term ‘combat’ in a metaphorical sense,” Adam Liptak, who covers the Supreme Court, said during the Times live briefing. “The question is whether, in the context, Trump called for combat in the physical sense.

  • Trump’s lawyers have called the trial a “culture of constitutional overturning.” Bruce L. Castor Jr. said the impeachment was about “the annulment of 75 million Trump voters and the criminalization of political views.”

  • Lawyers claimed the riot was premeditated, pointing to homemade bombs placed before the rally. “You cannot instigate what was already going to happen,” Van der Veen said.

  • Mr van der Veen also said the January 6 rally was “hijacked” by extremists, including far-left anti-fa activists. But Republican leaders rejected this claim. “Some say the riots were caused by antifa,” minority parliamentary leader Kevin McCarthy said last month. “There is absolutely no proof of this, and the Conservatives should be the first to say so.” (For context, here’s how Mr. Trump used misrepresentation about the antifa as a smokescreen for a growing right-wing threat.)

  • Lawyers leaned heavily on Mr. Trump’s unique use of the word “peacefully” as he urged donors to march to Capitol Hill while downplaying the 20 times he has used the word “fight.” “No thoughtful person could seriously believe that the president’s Jan. 6 speech on the Ellipse was somehow an incitement to violence or insurgency,” van der Veen said. “The suggestion is obviously absurd at first glance. Nothing in the text can ever be interpreted as encouraging, tolerating or inciting illegal activity of any kind. “

  • The defense team argued that the Senate “did not have the jurisdiction” to try even a former president now out of office, that Mr. Trump’s conduct was protected by the First Amendment, and that it was far from meeting the legal definition of “inducement”. In a letter last week, 144 leading First Amendment lawyers and constitutional scholars from all walks of life called the argument “legally frivolous.”

  • Lawyers for the Trump team also called the trial a rush, saying Mr. Trump was not given due process. “Trump’s lawyers seem to be complaining that they haven’t had enough time to see ‘the evidence’,” said Mark Leibovich, chief national correspondent for The Times Magazine. “But of course most of the evidence was visible before.”

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