Trump’s lawyers had up to sixteen hours to present to the Senate on Friday, but after less than three hours, they officially “rested their case.” Their final arguments included video footage and claims that Trump “did not receive due process because he did not see the House impeachment managers’ video montage, although the Democrats said [sic] had provided it,” according to CBS News.
They used the allotted time to defend the former president’s rhetoric on January 6 and reportedly “distance him from the violence.” Specifically, they called the senators’ attention to Trump’s phrasing at the rally prior to the attack on the Capitol building — “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore” — since his speech was mentioned by democrats in various arguments throughout the week.
Attorney David Schoen recalled the Democrats’ strategy of using visual evidence throughout the week. He added, “The House managers spoke about rhetoric, about a constant drumbeat of heated language…we need to show you some of their own words.” He then turned to a video montage of Democrats and celebrities talking about punching Trump, “tak[ing] [Trump] out,” “put[ting] a bullet in Donald Trump,” “blowing up the White House,” “getting up in the face of congresspeople,” and more.
Vice President Kamala Harris, during an appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” is shown being asked by Degeneres if she would rather be “stuck in an elevator with either President Trump, Mike Pence, or Jeff Sessions.” Harris responds, “Does one of us have to come out alive?” and the host and guest break out in laughter.
It appeared as if there was going to be a break in the display of evidence as the news cameras focused on Schoen. But then the attorney added, “There’s more,” and the footage continued, showing similarly aggressive language used by Democrats, this time with the words “fight” and “fighting” spoken by various politicians.
Schoen appeared to use this not to claim the Democrats were wrong in how they spoke, but rather to demonstrate that former President Trump was using typical political rhetoric when he spoke to the crowds on January 6.
When the video ended, Schoen explained this purpose. He turned to the people in the room who appeared in the videos and said, “That’s okay. You didn’t do anything wrong. It’s a word people use. But please stop the hypocrisy.”
On Thursday morning, Schoen spoke with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham about his disapproval of the Democrats’ tactics throughout the hearings.
As reported by Forbes, he commented on the violent footage from the riots on January 6 that the Democrats showed, saying:
“‘They are clearly playing to the cameras, playing to the public, all of the time. … It’s continuing to open wounds for the American public,’ said Schoen, who added that it’s a ‘pretty good bet’ the Trump team’s defense will show similarly compelling and emotional video in efforts to portray the Democrats as hypocrites.”
His hint that the defense might bring forward similar documentation came to fruition on Friday as the defense concluded their presentation. The impeachment schedule will continue into the weekend, with senators expected to ask questions on Saturday, and a vote speculated to take place either Saturday or Sunday.
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