Donald Trump’s lawyers argued today that Democrats have often used the same kind of provocative rhetoric that Democrats say the former president employed to incite the Jan. 6 Capitol siege. One clip package his legal team showed interspersed “fight” remarks made by Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden with anti-Trump pronouncements made by Madonna and Johnny Depp.
Depp was shown saying, “When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?” That was from an event in 2017, and Depp later apologized.
Another snippet was from the Women’s March that year, in which Madonna was shown telling the crowd, “I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House.” She later said that the remark was taken out of context.
Trump’s attorney David Schoen also accused the House impeachment managers of selectively editing Trump’s words in their video-heavy presentation. The Democrats’ case is focused in part on what Trump said at a rally earlier in the day on Jan. 6, when he told supporters, “We fight like hell and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”
The defense presented a video montage, lasting nearly 10 minutes, of Democrats using the word “fight” in speeches and statements, including Rep. Jamie Raskin (R-MD). But just as Trump’s team accuses impeachment managers of taking his words out of context, the video snippets also did not provide the setting or situation in which the “fight” remarks were made.
Earlier, another Trump lawyer, Michael van der Veen, said that the article of impeachment against Trump was a “blatantly unconstitutional act of political vengeance.” He also repeated early defenses of Trump’s Jan. 6 remarks, saying they were protected by the First Amendment.
“Mr. Trump was elected by the people,” he said. “He is an elected official. The Supreme Court said elected officials must have the right to freely engage in public speech.” He called the impeachment trial “constitutional cancel culture.”
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