“Well, Kevin, I guess these people are angrier about the election than you are!” Donald Trumps laconic answer when Kevin McCarthy phoned him during the January 6th attack on the Capitol. The minority leader in the House of Representatives is supposed to be the president According to a report by CNN “Begged” to call back his supporters. According to members of Congress, who know the content of the phone call, Trump and McCarthy are said to have yelled at each other and cursed. The Democrats see the now known phone call as further evidence that the elected president incited his supporters to try to rebel against the election result. Some Republicans agree with them.
Anthony Gonzalez, a Conservative MP from Ohio, said on Friday that Trump did not appear to be sorry for the attack on the seat of Congress, in fact he was happy about it. Gonzalez represents in the Republican Party but an outsider position. And so the defense lawyers in the impeachment proceedings against Trump are optimistic. On the fourth day of the trial, they only used two and a half of the 16 hours of speaking time they were entitled to.
Trump’s legal advisors are confident the Democrats will fail to win 17 Republican senators on their side – that many would have to vote with the Democrats to convict. Otherwise Trump will be acquitted of the charge of instigating an uprising. That could happen this weekend.
“A presumptuous and monstrous lie”
The lawyers used a lot of buzzwords that Trump is familiar with on Friday and also invented a new one: “Constitutional Cancel Culture” is being practiced against his client, and a hate-motivated political “witch hunt” is ongoing, said Michael van der Veen in his opening speech. The lawyers played a video that looked like a campaign spot. Excerpts from the videos previously shown by Democratic prosecutors to prove the escalation of violence have been reassembled. For minutes, clips of Democrats who spoke of “fighting” in various contexts were shown. Trump’s lawyers wanted to refute the accusation that his call to “fight like the devil” was a call to violence.
The main arguments of the defense centered around their claim that the president had in no way called for violence before right-wing extremists and conspiracy fantasists attacked the Capitol on January 6. The entire process is based on a “presumptuous and monstrous lie,” said van der Veen. Trump never approved of violence – his Twitter posts on the day of the riot proved that.
The Republican had tweeted to keep people peaceful and go home while the rioting was underway. Before that, of course, he had expressed his “love” for what he called the patriots. The defense lawyers did not mention this. Trump did exactly the opposite of what the Democrats accuse him of, said van der Veen.
Everything was already planned
At the “Stop the Steal” rally before the attack, Trump urged the crowd to move to the Capitol. But he never meant a violent demonstration – the prosecution twisted the president’s words. “The prosecutors make it: Go to the Capitol and make a riot,” complained attorney Bruce Castor. All Trump endorsed were political actions, Castor said. The former president wanted his supporters to lead intra-party election campaigns in the primary elections, but not instigated violent uprisings. In addition, the attack was already planned by the extremists “of all stripes” who had nothing to do with Trump, said van der Veen. You cannot instigate anything that has already been planned. Apparently the “Stop the Steal” demonstration was hijacked by violent criminals.