Trump’s lawyers call impeachment unconstitutional ‘vengeance’

Trump’s lawyers call impeachment unconstitutional ‘vengeance’

"The things that the President said, not just January 6th, but on the runup to the election and then after the election incited people to take extraordinary action and I would have voted, if I were in Congress, to impeach the president and I would vote to convict him because I believe he's directly responsible for the absolute chaos, there were 144 police officers injured, 5 lives lost that day, 2 other suicides".

The Senate wrapped up its session at 6:29 p.m.

Expectations were that a verdict could be voted the same day, with indications so far that Democrats will not get enough Republican support for a conviction.

But many legal scholars dispute that the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech applies to impeachment proceedings at all or that it protects Trump even if it does have some bearing on his impeachment.

Mr Trump had made allegations of voter fraud and urged his supporters to converge at the Capitol building a short while before the riot broke out. A final up-or-down vote to convict could come as soon as Saturday.

"Like every other politically motivated witch hunt the left has engaged in over the past four years, this impeachment is completely divorced from the facts, the evidence and the interests of the American people", he said. The defense arguments and the quick pivot to the Democrats' own words deflected from the central question of the trial - whether Trump incited the assault on the Capitol - and instead aimed to place impeachment managers and Trump adversaries on the defensive.

In their arguments Friday, defence lawyer Michael van der Veen called the impeachment unconstitutional and an "act of political vengeance".

But Trump's lawyers say that goal only underscores the "hatred" Democrats feel for Trump.

Trump's lawyers gave conflicting answers.

Senators sought to confirm whether Trump knew Vice President Mike Pence, who was presiding over the certification, was endangered by the Capitol attack when he sent a Twitter message criticizing him.

What has been the Democrats' case?

Sen. Mike Braun, a Republican from IN, told reporters he thought the defense was a "good offset" to the House managers' case. They played dozens of clips showing Democrats, some of them senators now serving as jurors, using the same word to energize supporters in speeches railing against Trump.

On Tuesday, the Senate voted largely along party lines that the impeachment trial was constitutional even though Trump's term ended on January 20. Asked on Thursday about pursuing the latter option, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that decision would have to wait until the end of the trial.

"I dispute the premise of your facts, I dispute the facts that are laid out in that question, and unfortunately we're not going to know the answer to those facts in these proceedings because the House did nothing to investigate what went on" on January 6, van der Veen said in response to a question from Sen.

"If you see it their way, yes", Mr. van der Veen said, referring to the House Democratic impeachment managers. He added that he did not think an effort to bar Trump from holding office again under the 14th Amendment would go anywhere.

Trump is the first USA president to be impeached twice and the first to face trial after leaving office.

A vote is expected over whether to allow witnesses if either side wants them. There's no rule against the Senate jurors strategizing with the lawyers in an impeachment trial, though Democrats can use it to raise questions about impartiality.

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