Day 4 Impeachment: Trump's Lawyers Came Out Landing Haymakers
President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial grew into fight night on the floor of the Senate Friday, as his attorney exposed the Democrats and sparred with managers as well as senators seeking to test sturdiness of his defense.
During a question-and-answer period spelled out in Senate rules – Trump's team used their time to expose lawmakers lies who have advanced the impeachment effort.
At one point, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders submitted a question, which asked whether he believed Trump’s claim that the election was stolen or if in his judgment did Trump actually win the election.
‘My judgment? Who asked that?’ snapped Van der Veen, who had earlier accused Democrats of being motivated by ‘hatred.’
‘I did,’ responded Sanders, a Vermont Democrat and has spent years serving in the chamber.
Democrats could be heard murmuring in the background. ‘My judgment is irrelevant in this proceeding,’ he responded.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairing the proceeding, had to gavel down the chamber and remind senators not to challenge the content of the response.
It was one of numerous times when Van der Veen took on a pugilistic role and went after his legal adversaries. He sneered about a ‘newly-created Raskin doctrine’ in a dig at Rep. Jamie Raskin, and showed how Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas of twisting Trump’s words when he said Trump called on supporters to ‘fight to the death’ on Jan. 6th.
'I'm not from here, I'm not like you guys,' he told senators, gesticulating. He said he was being 'very polite' and want to give Castro an opportunity to 'correct the record.'
Instead what he did is he came up and illustrated the problem with the presentation of the House case. It's been smoke and mirrors and worse, it's been dishonest. He came up and he tried to cover when he got caught,' he claimed.
Castro came back later to say he was quoting form a Trump tweet the president had said Democrats would ‘fight to the death’ if they had an election stolen. Van der Veen used another unrelated question to blast him once again, saying the comment was out of context.
At other points during his arguments Friday, he called Democrats ‘hypocrites’ for charging Trump with incitement despite their public appeals to ‘fight’ on a range of issues or even bringing election challenges.
In another key exchange, Trump's lawyers claimed Trump did not know that Vice President Mike Pence was in danger when he sent a tweet at 2:24 pm on Jan. 6th that Pence ‘didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.’
The lawyer was later asked if Trump knew Pence had just been evacuated from the Senate at the time, as Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama said he had told the president minutes earlier.
'The answer is no. At no point was the president informed the vice president was in any danger,' attorney Bruce Castor said.
Wrapping up his own arguments, lawyer Bruce Castor yielded back about 13 hours of time that had been allotted, finishing with a partisan blast at the Democratic majority.
'The majority party promised to unify and deliver more COVID relief. But instead, they did this. We will not take most of our time today, us of the defense, in the hopes that you will take back these hours and use them to get delivery of COVID relief to the American people,' he said.
Trump's team of impeachment lawyers summoned the furious rhetorical style of their client as they began his defense Friday against what they termed a 'sham impeachment' they branded a 'witch hunt.'
With no public indications that the trial has moved enough Republican senators to convict Trump, lawyer Michael van der Veen came out swinging with legal arguments that appeared to channel the former Twitter rage of his client – calling the impeachment an 'appalling abuse' and even bringing up Trump targets like the Russia probe and Antifa.
He called the impeachment a 'shameful effort' to 'smear, censor, and cancel' Trump as well as his supporters.
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