Trump lawyers blast impeachment trial as Democratic witch-hunt

Del. Stacey Plaskett a Democrat from the U.S. Virgin Islands

Del. Stacey Plaskett a Democrat from the U.S. Virgin Islands

"They spent no time at all in connecting legally the attack on the Capitol to the 45th President of the United States".

The core of the defense team's argument was that the former President's rhetoric did not meet the criminal bar for incitement. Democrats argued that Trump helped organize the rally that preceded the attack and then urged his supporters to overrun the Capitol. The argument is likely to appeal to Republican senators who want to be seen as condemning the violence but without convicting the president.

Michael Van Der Veen, attorney for former President Trump, shows video of Democratic politicians using fighting language in the past to make a point that Trump's words before the January 6 Capitol riot were no different. It was an attempt to show Democrats as being hypocritical about Trump's language.

The bar for a conviction is high: House managers will need to convince at least 17 Republicans to vote with Democrats to meet it, and it's unclear at this point how many Republicans will vote with them. The vote could come as early as Saturday.

After a two-day effort by Democrats to sync up Trump's words to the violence that followed, including through raw and emotive video footage, defense lawyers suggested that Democrats have typically engaged in the same overheated rhetoric as Trump.

Trump's team played a roughly 10-minute video showing prominent Democrats using the word "fight" in political speeches.

There are three prongs to the Brandenburg test.

Trump's lawyers gave conflicting answers.

Second, there must be intent from the speaker to provoke lawlessness. "The President clearly deplores rioters and political violence, and did so throughout his term as President, and never hesitated to express his admiration for the men and women that protect this country", said Castor.

In hours of arguments, the Trump legal team characterized the impeachment case as a politically motivated "witch hunt" - an outgrowth, they said, of years of efforts to drive him from office - and they sought to reduce the case to Trump's use of a single word, "fight", in a speech preceding the January 6 riot.

On day four of Donald Trump's impeachment trial it was the turn of the defence to make its case.

But lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin pointed out that the Republican leader had been encouraging extremism even in the lead-up to Election Day by constantly undermining public faith in the election process. Lisa Murkowski, referencing a widely panned first appearance by Trump's defense team earlier in the week.

But Michael van der Veen, one of Trump's attorneys, dismissed the phone call, which Tuberville confirmed to Politico late Wednesday, as "hearsay" despite one of the participants of the call vouching that it had occurred.

Moments after Collins and Murkowski asked their question, Sen.

"When President Trump sent the disparaging tweet at 2:24 p.m. regarding Vice President Pence, was he aware that the vice president had been removed from the Senate by the Secret Service for his safety?"

"I'm sure Trump was concerned", van der Veen said.

Schoen mocked the video as "an entertainment package" and said Trump could not possibly be held responsible for the actions of the demonstrators.

In the end, lingering factual inconsistencies may not affect the outcome of the trial.

Republican Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana said evidence shown by House managers was "powerful", but reporters spotted a draft statement from him on Friday that indicated he would be voting for acquittal.