ALL NEWS

What to watch as Trump’s lawyers deliver impeachment defense

Feb 12, 2021, 6:42 AM
In this image from video, the Senate begins the third day in the second impeachment trial of former...
In this image from video, the Senate begins the third day in the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. (Senate Television via AP)
(Senate Television via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump’s lawyers have a simple objective as they open their defense at the former president’s impeachment trial: Don’t lose any Republican votes.

Most Senate Republicans have indicated that they will vote to acquit Trump on the House charge of incitement of insurrection. They argue that the trial is unconstitutional and that Trump didn’t incite supporters to lay siege on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 when he told them to “fight like hell” against the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory. If Republicans hold the line, Democrats will fall well short of the two-thirds of the Senate needed for conviction.

Trump’s two top lawyers, Bruce Castor and David Schoen, risked losing one Republican vote on Tuesday after Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy said they did a “terrible” job arguing that the trial is unconstitutional. Cassidy, who had voted with his party two weeks prior to stop the trial, switched his vote to side with Democrats.

Including Cassidy, six Republicans sided with Democrats on that vote that the trial is constitutional — far from the minimum of 17 Republican votes that would be needed to convict.

Here’s what to watch for on Friday as the defense opens arguments in Trump’s historic second impeachment:

THE ARGUMENTS

Trump’s lawyers plan to argue their client’s innocence on multiple fronts. Their main arguments include that the trial is unconstitutional, that the insurrectionists who broke into the Capitol did so on their own accord and that Trump’s rhetoric to supporters was common political speech protected under the First Amendment.

Hoping that brevity will appeal to their restless Senate audience, the lawyers are expected to keep their arguments short. A Trump adviser said Thursday that they are expected to wrap up their defense in less than a day.

Like the House prosecutors, Trump’s lawyers have up to 16 hours over two days to plead their case. Once the defense’s presentation is finished, senators will have time to submit written questions to both sides.

PARTISAN ANGER

Taking a cue from their client, Trump’s lawyers have injected searing criticism of Democrats into their arguments, hoping to convince not only GOP senators but also viewers of the trial around the country that Trump’s second impeachment is fueled by “hatred” of the former president. They are expected to continue with that strategy on Friday, calling out Democrats they say similarly incited violence in cities around the country.

Schoen told reporters in the Capitol on Thursday that Democrats’ recounting of the riots on Wednesday — almost 90 minutes of brutal footage that saw the rioters injuring law enforcement and calling for the death of the vice president and the speaker of the House — was “offensive.”

He said he believed Democrats were effectively making the public relive the tragedy in a way that “tears at the American people” and impedes efforts at unity.

CASTOR’S CLEANUP

All eyes will be on Castor, who delivered a rambling argument on Tuesday that Republican senators criticized as perplexing, “disorganized” and “random.” Trump, too, was furious over the performance of his defense team as he watched the proceedings from his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, according to a person familiar with his thinking who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe a private conversation.

On Friday, Castor will get a second chance. After the Democrats’ video presentation on Wednesday, he said the images “would have an emotional impact on any jury, but there are two sides of the coin and we haven’t played ours.”

At least one key senator had advice for the lawyers on Thursday.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican who has been harshly critical of Trump’s role in the riots, said she hopes Trump’s lawyers will be “as specific as the House managers were — who went through the evidence, provided legal arguments and gave a very thorough presentation.”

___

Associated Press writer Jill Colvin in Washington contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team. here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Thousands of previously banned Twitter users have begun to have their accounts restored to the plat...
Clare Duffy, CNN Business

The mass unbanning of suspended Twitter users is underway

Twitter accounts that had previously been banned are beginning to be restored to the platform, according to a independent analysis.
8 hours ago
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 3: Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) arrives at the U.S. Capitol for a vote August...
Jeremy Herb, CNN

Sinema leaving the Democratic Party and registering as an independent

Sinema declined to address questions about her reelection bid in the interview with Tapper, saying that simply isn't her focus right now.
8 hours ago
holiday deals...
Matt Egan, CNN

Shoppers are dipping into savings and going into debt. That could cause a holiday hangover

The problem, however, is that many Americans' paychecks are not keeping up with stubborn inflation.
8 hours ago
Wasatch County Sheriff's Office...
Mark Jones

Highland man dies in snowmobile accident in Wasatch County

A 51-year-old man from Highland died in a snowmobile accident Tuesday afternoon in Wasatch County, according to the Wasatch County Sheriff's Office.
1 day ago
Salt Lake City Police took a 44-year-old man into custody on Wednesday in connection to the burglar...
Mark Jones

Salt Lake City Police announce third arrest in September homicide

Salt Lake City Police say a third person has been taken into custody in connection to a September homicide.
1 day ago
Utah Roadkill Reporter is a new app helping reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions. Available on Google...
Devin Oldroyd

DWR and UDOT introducing new app Utah Roadkill Reporter

Utah Roadkill Reporter is a new app helping reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions. Available on Google Play and the App store now.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
What to watch as Trump’s lawyers deliver impeachment defense