Washington: There is a complete lack of evidence on the article of impeachment against Donald Trump, his lawyers told the United States Senate Friday as they asserted that he was a law-and-order president and his speech did not cause the January 6 riots at the Capitol.
“We have a complete lack of evidence for the article of impeachment presented by the House managers,” Trump’s lawyer Bruce Castor said on the Senate floor. The impeachment by the House, the case for which was laid out by the House managers in the Senate during the last two days, was political.
“Their goal is to eliminate a political opponent, to substitute their judgment for the will of the voters,” he said as he showed clips of various Democratic leaders in this regard.
Castor said that the critical issue in this case is the very narrow issue that is charged against the 45th president. “That issue is did the 45th president engage in incitement of — they continue to say — insurrection. Clearly there was no insurrection,” he said.
Insurrection is a term of art defined in the law. It involves taking over a country, a shadow government, taking the TV stations over and having some plan on what you’re going to do when you finally take power. “Clearly this is not that,” Castor said.
Citing reports from the FBI, the Department of Justice, and several former and present officials, he said that the January 6 riots were pre-planned.
“To answer the question of the House manager, does anybody believe that this would have occurred but for the speech from Donald Trump? I do. All of these facts make clear the January 6 speech did not cause the riots. The president did not cause the riots. He neither explicitly or implicitly encouraged the use of violence or lawless action, but in fact called for peaceful exercise of every American’s first amendment rights to peaceably assemble and petition their government for address of grievances,” Castor said.
Trump’s lawyers presented their case for nearly four hours. After this the Senators, who act a juror for the impeachment trial, began the question-and-answer sessions from both the sides. The 100-member Senate would vote on the impeachment trial after the closing arguments are made by the two sides. To impeach Trump, the Senate needs 67 votes, which the political analysts said is a tall order for the Democrats. The Democrats have 50 members and they need the support of 17 of the Republican Senators.
Castor said that from the beginning, the president has been clear — the criminals who infiltrated the capitol must be punished to the fullest extent of the law. “We know that the president would never have wanted such a riot to occur because his long-standing hatred for violent protesters and his love for law and order is on display, worn on his sleeve every single day that he served in the White House,” he asserted.
The Trump lawyer alleged that the House managers manipulated the Trump video to selectively show his speeches. “The (House) managers would have you believe that the president’s supporters usually follow his every word, but in this case, imputed some imaginary meaning to them while ignoring his most clear instructions,” he said.
“President trump said peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard, and the House managers took from that, go down to the capitol and riot. So you are supposed to put your selves in the heads of the people who hear patriotically and peacefully make your voiced heard and conclude that those words do not mean what the president said. More than that, the president criticised the destruction wrought by left-wing,” he said.
“By any measure, president Trump is the most pro-police, anti-mob rule president this country has ever seen. His real supporters know this. He made it clear throughout his presidency, he made it clear during the violence this past summer, he made it clear on January 6,” Castor said.