Trump defense lawyer blasts second impeachment trial as ‘constitutional cancel culture’

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Trump defense lawyer blasts second impeachment trial as ‘constitutional cancel culture’


As former President Donald Trump’s defense attorneys made their case in his second impeachment trial, one lawyer said his client is being canceled.

Michael van der Veen offered the following comment as he spoke before the Senate:


‘This unprecedented effort is not about Democrats opposing political violence. It is about Democrats trying to disqualify their political opposition. It is constitutional cancel culture.’

Trump’s defense attorneys are expected to take just three or four hours to present their arguments to the Senate, using only a fraction of the time allotted to them as a conviction looks highly unlikely. Trump faces a charge of inciting an insurrection in the wake of the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol by his supporters.

House impeachment managers, who are serving as prosecutors in the trial, gave their presentations on Wednesday and Thursday, showing extensive video of the Capitol siege and Trump’s Jan. 6 speech. Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the lead manager, likened Trump to a rogue fire chief who tells a mob to start fire, then watches “with glee” as the blaze spreads.

See: Graphic new impeachment video shows police being attacked, senators fleeing Capitol mob

Also: Rioters acted on Trump’s ‘orders,’ Democrats say in impeachment trial

On Friday, van der Veen also argued that Trump on Jan. 6 delivered “ordinary political rhetoric that is virtually indistinguishable from the language that has been used by people across the political spectrum for hundreds of years.”

“Countless politicians have spoken of fighting for our principles. Joe Biden’s campaign slogan was ‘Battle for the Soul of America,’” the attorney said.

Once the defense’s presentation wraps up, senators are slated to get up to four hours to ask questions. After the questions, the House managers will have the option of requesting a debate and vote on subpoenaing witnesses and documents, but they’re not expected to take that route. Closing arguments are then scheduled to last up to four hours.

A conviction in the trial would be a major surprise, as support from two-thirds of the Senate is required, meaning from 17 of the Senate’s 50 Republicans and all of the chamber’s 50 Democrats and independents. Just six Republican senators voted Tuesday in favor of allowing the trial to proceed, underscoring the long odds that House managers face.

Markets had been expected to shrug at this week’s proceedings, and the main U.S. stock gauges
SPX,
+0.11%

DJIA,
-0.13%

on Friday were on track for weekly gains.

Trump has become the first president to get impeached twice, and it’s also a first that the trial has taken place after he has left the White House.

His first impeachment trial ended a year ago with the Senate voting to acquit him on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The vote was 52 to 48 on the abuse charge and 53 to 47 on obstruction, with Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah breaking with his party and joining with Democrats to vote “guilty” on the first charge.

Now read: Cost of National Guard mission to protect U.S. Capitol estimated at $483 million

Opinion: Despite the Capitol insurrection, Trump was never a would-be fascist dictator



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