The legal team representing former President Donald Trump is speaking out on their plan to counter the impeachment actions in the U.S. Senate. One major theme is that the Senate is acting unconstitutionally in its efforts to even hold a trial.
Trump’s lawyers David Schoen and Bruce Castor deny that Trump incited the riot and say the trial itself is illegal now that Trump has left the White House. They point to the wording of the constitution which states impeachment is to “remove from office.” They say that to be impeached a person must actually hold office. Since Trump is no longer president, they assert that impeachment doesn’t apply. Their stance is supported by some scholars.
The trial in the Senate trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday, Feb. 9. Democrat leaders allege he incited the Jan. 6 riot at the capitol with some even suggesting he called on protesters to storm the captiol building. Republicans contend, pointing out the timeline, Trump’s speech and the breech, that the captiol was assaulted even before Trump was done speaking, apparently unaware of what was happening. So, too, do defenders point out that 99.5 percent of rally-goers were peaceful,
Metro Voice spoke to one person who attended the rally who stated that he found the Trump speech less than electrifying and that he started to head back to the hotel before it even ended. He also said that few in the huge and peaceful crowd even understood what was happening at the capitol because it was so far away. “I didn’t know anything until I got a text,” he said. Metro Voice has chosen to keep him anonymous.
Others who attended the rally have stated in interviews that they, too, were disappointed in Trump’s speech – that it lacked the enthusiasm he previously portrayed on the campaign trail. Video of the speech shows that Mr. Trump did use words like “fight on” but observers point out those are words commonly used by politicians rallying their crowd behind their cause. Joe Biden to Barack Obama having used similar language. In fact, former President Barack Obama rhetorically told his supporters to “bring a gun” when their opponents have a “knife.”
The story about Obama was rated true by Snopes.com which also added context, something that Trump’s defenders say is missing in assessments of his speech the day of the protests.
“Should Obama be impeached for causing the BLM riots, death of a dozen cops, and the destruction of numerous federal and local law enforcement buildings over the summer?” one person asked on social media.
But those questions have not stopped Democrats and at least a few Republicans, from taking the nation down the impeachment road once again.
Nine House impeachment managers will argue the single article of impeachment that former President Trump should be held responsible for an “Incitement of Insurrection.”
The defense team denies that Trump ever endangered national security and disputes the Democrats’ characterization of his remarks and his role in the riot. When he told his followers to “fight like hell”, they say he was talking about “election security in general.”
They contend Trump was not attempting to interfere with the counting of electoral votes, only encouraging members of Congress to engage in the customary process of challenging vote submissions “under a process written into Congressional rules,” as had been done in years past, even by Democrat members of Congress.
In the video below, Trump encourages the crowd to “peacefully and patriotically make [our] voices heard” at the 18:25 mark.
“The actions by the House make clear that in their opinion the 45th President does not enjoy the protections of liberty upon which this great Nation was founded, where free speech, and indeed, free political speech form the backbone of all American liberties,” the defense lawyers wrote.
Several Senate Republicans have said that acquittal is likely, with many saying they think Congress should move on, questioning the constitutionality of an impeachment trial with Trump out of office. In a test vote in the Senate last week, 45 Republicans, including party leader Mitch McConnell, voted in favor of an effort to dismiss the trial over those constitutional concerns.
Schoen appeared on Fox News Monday night, revealing some of the arguments he plans to make at the trial. He called the case needlessly divisive.
“It’s also the most ill-advised legislative action that I’ve seen in my lifetime,” he said. Impeachment, Schoen said, “is the weapon they’ve tried to use against him.”
The new case is an effort to bar Trump from ever running for office again, Schoen said, “and that’s about as undemocratic as you can get.”
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice