One of Donald Trump‘s impeachment attorneys has slammed House Democrats for presenting a ‘spliced and manufactured’ video as their first piece of evidence in the Senate trial on a charge of incitement to insurrection.
Attorney David Schoen was reacting to the first piece of evidence presented by House impeachment managers on Tuesday, a 14-minute video which inter-cut footage of the January 6 U.S. Capitol riot with Trump’s speech earlier that day urging his supporters to ‘fight’.
‘It’s very easy to stand up and show spliced and manufactured films. Literally the Democrats, the House managers, hired a large movie company and a large law firm to put together this thing,’ Schoen said in an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity.
‘It’s a matter of tricking the American people, to play as if the rioting was going on in real time with the speech,’ he added. ‘What’s the purpose of that? Why do we want to trick the American people?’
‘It’s sending a very dangerous and wrong message, and it’s a hoax I’m sorry to say,’ said Schoen.
Attorney David Schoen was reacting to the first piece of evidence presented by House impeachment managers on Tuesday, a 14-minute video
The video spliced scenes from Trump’s speech on January 6 (left) together with scenes from the attack on the U.S. Capitol a few hours later (right)
Impeachment trials are not limited by the typical rules of evidence in criminal and civil courts, and the Senate can consider whatever it wishes in weighing an impeachment charge.
But Schoen argued that the video was manipulative and dishonest, making it appear as if Trump was urging on his supporters in real time as they attacked the Capitol.
‘That video tape would never go into evidence in any court in the world today. It’s a spliced tape, showing what they want to show,’ Schoen said.
‘There’s nothing they showed today that in any way ties this to Donald Trump. It’s just a silly argument, it’s not tied to Donald Trump and his speech whatsoever,’ he added.
Schoen was also pressed by Hannity on the performance on Tuesday of another Trump defense attorney, Bruce Castor, whom Hannity said ‘rambled’ and ‘free associated,’ without naming him.
Schoen said that Castor did not expect to have to speak on Tuesday, and would be better prepared if called upon during the rest of the trial.
‘I thought the President’s lawyer – the first lawyer just rambled on and on and on and didn’t really address the constitutional argument,’ Sen. John Cornyn said of Trump’s defense attorney Bruce Castor (pictured)
Trump, who was watching the proceedings in Washington from his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, was furious at Castro’s performance, a person familiar with his thinking told the AP.
Even Trump’s backers in the Senate winced, with several saying his lawyers were not helpful to his case.
In an earlier interview with Hannity, Trump’s eldest son Don Trump Jr slammed the Senate trial as ‘asinine’ and argued that his father’s rhetoric at the January 6 speech was no worse than any other politician’s.
‘If it wasn’t for double standards the Democrats would have no standards at all,’ said Trump Jr.
Referring to Black Lives Matter demonstrations, Trump Jr said the nation had witnessed ’10 months of rioting, looting, arson – in your face type of politics.’
‘Candidly, whatever my father said on January 6 was mild in comparison,’ he added. ‘If you were to take his speech and compare it to literally any stump speech in history you would not see any deviation.’
‘This stuff is asinine,’ he said, calling the trial ‘faux outrage on a global scale with TV and free air time.’
In an earlier interview with Hannity, Trump’s eldest son Don Trump Jr slammed the Senate trial as ‘asinine’ and argued that his father’s rhetoric at the January 6 speech was no worse than any other politician’s
‘Aren’t we in the middle of a pandemic? I would have thought these senators have something better to do,’ said Trump Jr.
‘The double standards are insane and maybe the United States Senate should focus on that instead of some of their nonsense,’ he added.
Trump Jr also posted an Instagram Live video defending his father and slamming the Senate trial as ‘insanity’
The Senate voted largely along party lines on Tuesday to move ahead with Trump’s impeachment trial, but conviction appears unlikely barring a major shift among Republicans.
The Senate voted 56-44 to proceed to the first-ever trial of a former president, rejecting his defense lawyers’ argument that Trump was beyond the reach of the Senate after having left the White House on January 20.
Democrats hope to disqualify Trump from ever again holding public office, but Tuesday’s outcome suggested they face long odds. Only six Republican senators joined Democrats to vote in favor of allowing the trial to take place, far short of the 17 needed to secure a conviction.
Convicting Trump would require a two-thirds majority in the 50-50 Senate.
The vote capped a dramatic day in the Senate chamber. Democratic lawmakers serving as prosecutors opened the trial with a graphic video interspersing images of the January 6 Capitol violence with clips of Trump’s incendiary speech to a crowd of supporters earlier in the day urging them to ‘fight like hell’ to overturn his November 3 election defeat.
Senators, serving as jurors, watched as screens showed Trump’s followers throwing down barriers and hitting police officers at the Capitol.
The video included the moment when police guarding the House of Representatives chamber fatally shot protester Ashli Babbitt, one of five people including a police officer who died in the rampage.
The mob attacked police, sent lawmakers scrambling for safety and interrupted the formal congressional certification of President Joe Biden’s victory after Trump had spent two months challenging the election results based on false claims of widespread voting fraud.
‘If that’s not an impeachment offense, then there is no such thing,’ Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin, who led a team of nine House members prosecuting the case, told the assembled senators after showing the video.
The Senate voted 56-44, with six Republicans crossing the party line, to move forward with its trial against Donald Trump on Wednesday – claiming it is constitutional to try a former president
House lead impeachment manager Representative Jamie Raskin points up at a video that he had just shown of Trump supporters storming the U.S. Capitol building, cut together with parts of the former president’s speech on January 6
He wept as he recounted how relatives he brought to the Capitol that day to witness the election certification had to shelter in an office near the House floor, saying: ‘They thought they were going to die.’
In contrast to the Democrats’ emotional presentation, Trump’s lawyers attacked the process, arguing that the proceeding was an unconstitutional, partisan effort to close off Trump’s political future even after he had already departed the White House.
‘What they really want to accomplish here in the name of the Constitution is to bar Donald Trump from ever running for political office again, but this is an affront to the Constitution no matter who they target today,’ David Schoen, one of Trump’s lawyers, told senators.
He denounced the ‘insatiable lust for impeachment’ among Democrats before airing his own video, which stitched together clips of various Democratic lawmakers calling for Trump’s impeachment going back to 2017
Donald Trump rages at his defense attorneys after ‘rambling’ opening speech praising Democrats and admitting he lost election
By Katelyn Caralle, U.S. Political Reporter and Emily Goodin, Senior U.S. Political Reporter For Dailymail.com and Geoff Earle, Deputy U.S. Political Editor For Dailymail.com
Former President Donald Trump was set off by the defense mustered by his legal team at the start of his Senate impeachment trial, raging at key admissions and a presentation that appeared to drive away a key Republican vote.
Trump, viewing the proceedings from his new home at Mar-a-Lago, was aghast that one of his lawyers, Bruce Castor, acknowledged the potency of the opening argument put forward by House Democratic impeachment managers, ABC News reported.
Castor even acknowledged that his team changed course after viewing the Democrats’ presentation, which featured dramatic video of Trump supporters storming the Capitol and taunting police officers with obscenities as they bashed in doors and windows.
‘I’ll be quite frank with you, we changed what we were going to do on account that we thought that the House managers’ presentation was well done,’ Castor admitted. ‘And I wanted you to know that we have responses to those things.’
One Trump advisor even told CNN getting good legal representation was a concern if he is ever charged in criminal court, which is now possible since he is out of office.
‘Trump is f***** if anyone ever charges him. No one wants to work with him,’ said the advisor.
The concern boiling up from Florida was also playing out in the Senate hallways, where Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana called the legal presentation ‘disorganized’ and ‘random’ and said it swayed him to vote with Democrats on the issue of constitutionality.
Castor rejected criticism bubbling up when asked about it in the Senate. ‘I thought we had a good day,’ he said.
Texas Senator John Cornyn, while walking from the chamber to his office Tuesday evening, also said Trump’s lawyers made him feel the case against constitutionality for the trial wasn’t as strong as it could be. He still voted, however, not to proceed
Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey (left) and Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse (right) also voted the trial is constitutional
Trump’s concerns about his team’s performance came after the sudden departure of a group of South Carolina lawyers who were going to represent him at the trial, amid reports Trump wanted the trial to feature a vigorous defense of his own claims the election was stolen.
Personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani is a potential witness in the case, having also spoken to a rally before the MAGA mob ransacked the trial and urging ‘trial by combat.’ Attorneys from the first impeachment are not representing him, and he no longer has the use of the office of White House counsel now that he is out of office.
Castor made other admissions that may have grated on Trump, calling him a ‘former president’ while also saying: ‘President Trump no longer is in office. The object of the Constitution has been achieved. He was removed by the voters.’ He was arguing against the need for a post-presidency impeachment.
TIMETABLE FOR THE TRUMP TRIAL
Here is how the Trump impeachment will unfold:
Tuesday 1pm: Senate comes to order with president pro tempore Patrick Leahy (D-VT) presiding over four hours of presentation – two from each side – on whether the trial is constitutional
Tuesday 5pm: Senate votes on whether it is constitutional to move forward. If there are at least 51 votes to continue, which is certain, the Senate adjourns for the day
Wednesday 9am: Deadline for motions from both sides which could be voted on before the trial begins
Wednesday 11am: Deadline for responses to motions
Wednesday noon: If there are motions, they must be voted on but if there are none the trial opens with Democratic impeachment managers beginning up to 16 hours over Wednesday and Thursday of outlining their case
Thursday: Democrats end their case against Trump
Friday noon: Donald Trump’s team begin their defense with up to 16 hours to make their case on Friday and Saturday. An original plan to observe the Jewish sabbath in deference to Trump’s attorney David Schoen has been dropped after he said it was unnecessary
Saturday: Trump’s team ends their defense case
Sunday: At this point the Democratic impeachment managers and Trump’s attorneys can ask to call witnesses if senators vote to allow them on a simple majority vote. If there are witnesses, the trial will adjourn for them to be deposed, which could delay it significantly.
If there are no witnesses Senators have four hours to ask questions of both sides.
Then the Democratic impeachment managers can put forward a motion to introduce all their background evidence and Trump’s defense have an hour to argue against with both sides getting an hour in total, followed by a vote, with Trump’s side then able to do the same.
Unknown but as early as Presidents Day: Once questions are over there are two hours each for both sides to sum up. Then the Senate votes. Conviction needs a two-thirds majority: 67 senators assuming all are present.
The Senate will move forward with its trial against Donald Trump when it meets on Wednesday after Democrats, and six Republicans, voted 56-44 Tuesday that impeaching the former president is constitutional.
But there was little sign that Democrats can gain the total of 17 Republican senators they would need to vote with them to convict Trump at the end of the trial, which could come as quickly as Saturday – despite even Republicans who voted to call off the trial mocking his defense team’s performance.
During three-and-half hours of debate on the Senate floor Tuesday, the defense and prosecution had the chance to argue whether holding an impeachment trial of a former official is in line with the Constitution.
Several Republicans, however, are ridiculing Trump’s defense team for missing the point of their outlined argument against the constitutionality of the timing of the proceedings.
‘I thought the President’s lawyer – the first lawyer just rambled on and on and on and didn’t really address the constitutional argument,’ Texas Senator John Cornyn told reporters outside the chamber following his vote against moving forward.
‘Finally, the second lawyer got around to it and, I thought, did an effective job,’ he continued, referencing David Schoen. ‘But I’ve seen a lot of lawyers and a lot of arguments and that was not one of the finest I’ve seen.’
The Republican senators who voted along with Democrats include Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania voted to move the proceedings forward.
Most surprising of the six is Cassidy, who previously agreed with 44 other Republicans that holding the trial would go against the Constitution’s intent since he is no longer the sitting president.
Cassidy was straightforward on what swayed him to change his mind: Trump’s legal defense.
‘Did you listen to it?,’ he said to reporters gathered after the vote. ‘If you listen to it, it speaks for itself. It was disorganized, random, they talked about many things but they didn’t talk about the issue at hand.’
‘And so if I’m an impartial juror, and I’m trying to make a decision based upon the facts as presented on this issue, then the House managers did a much better job,’ Cassidy said.
He also released a statement reiterating his thought process on the vote.
‘If anyone disagrees with my vote and would like an explanation, I ask them to listen to the arguments presented by the House Managers and former President Trump’s lawyers,’ the Louisiana senator said. ‘The House managers had much stronger constitutional arguments. The president’s team did not.’
He made clear in the statement, however: ‘This vote is not a prejudgment on the final vote to convict.’
Castor, however, defended himself against critics – including Republican lawmaker – claiming he doesn’t plan to switch up any legal strategy going forward in the trial.
‘I thought we had a good day,’ Castor repeatedly told press on Capitol Hill Tuesday evening when asked about criticism he didn’t make a good case against constitutionality for the trial.
‘Do you anticipate any sort of adjustments after today?’ a reporter asked of the former president’s attorney.
‘No, I set up the outline a week ago and it will not change,’ he shot back.
Democrats began their impeachment case against Trump Tuesday afternoon with a video of profanity and violence during the January 6 MAGA attack on the Capitol.
The former president’s defense team claimed the video showing was part of the left turning the proceedings into a ‘bloodsport’ for some of Trump’s biggest critics.
‘We now learn that the House managers in their wisdom have hired a movie company and a large law firm to create, manufacture and splice for you a package designed by experts to chill and horrify you and our fellow Americans,’ Trump’s defense lawyer David Schoen decried from the Senate floor.
He added: ‘They don’t need to show you movies to show you that the riot happened here. We will stipulate that it happened, and you know all about it. This is a process fueled irresponsibly by base hatred by these House managers.’
The more than 14-minute video presented at the top of the Democrats’ case for conviction included snappy cuts between the violence of the pro-Trump mob and the former president’s speech just beforehand.
Trump’s defense attorney Bruce Castor, however, made less of a legal case and went more for flattery, praising the senators for their work, their patriotism and dedication to country.
Trump’s defense attorney Bruce Castor made less of a legal case and went more for flattery, praising the senators for their work, their patriotism and dedication to country
Another Trump defense attorney, David Schoen, held up Mao’s Little Red Book as he made a point about the trial
That flattery apparently held no bearing as senators Castor specifically mentioned, like his home state’s Toomey, voted against the defense.
When walking out of the chamber on Tuesday night, Murkowski made clear to reporters that she felt Trump’s lawyers missed their opportunity to present a coherent case against the constitutionality of impeaching now-private citizen Trump.
‘Today was supposed to be an opportunity to be briefed on the constitutionality of whether or not you can move forward with an impeachment of a former president,’ the Alaska moderate said. ‘I thought that the House presented a pretty good legal analysis.’
She also claimed Castor was a disaster for the former president, but said Schoen was able to redeem some of the legal argument.
‘In fairness, I was really stunned at the first attorney who presented for former President Trump,’ she said of Castor. ‘I couldn’t figure out where he was going, spent 45 minutes going somewhere, but I don’t think he helped with us better understanding where he was coming from on the constitutionality of this.’
The Democrats went for the gut punch, using their opening argument to remind senators of what happened the day of the riot, the confusion, fear and brute force that was in play as lawmakers fled from the mass of Trump supporters.
The video showed highlights from the insurrection, including Trump urging his supporters to ‘fight like hell’ at a rally outside the White House that morning. It also showed the violence and destruction the rioters inflicted as they fought their way through police lines and breached the building.
The defense team also presented their own video more than an hour-and-a-half into their two-hours of argument.
Their video included dramatic, dark music with clips of Democrats preemptively saying they would call to impeach Trump starting just days into his presidency. This included a 2019 clip of Representative Rashida Tlaib, just after becoming a congresswoman, saying, ‘We’re going to impeach the motherf***er.’
At the end of Tuesday, the full Senate will vote on the constitutionality of impeaching an ex-president.
Then, the rest of the trial is expected to run through the weekend with a potential vote on convicted on Monday – while others are more optimistic and believe a vote could come as early as Saturday.
Schoen lamented that scheduling the process over the week is an attempt to drag out the process of bringing down Trump’s name.
‘They want to put you through a 16-hour presentation over two days, focusing on this as if it were some sort of bloodsport,’ Schoen lamented. ‘And to what end? For healing? For unity? For accountability? Not for any of those, for surely there are much better ways to achieve each.’
He added: ‘It is, again, for pure, raw, misguided partisanship that makes them believe playing to our worse instincts somehow is good.’
Lead Impeachment manager Jamie Raskin began the Democrats’ case with an impassioned speech on the constitutionality of the impeachment trial and ending with an emotional personal story of the riot and how it affected him. At times he held back tears as he recounted what happened on January 6.
And it wasn’t just about him, he told a captive Senate audience, which sat in silence listening to him.
”This trial is personal for every senator and for every member of the House, for every manager and all our staff and the capital police and the Washington DC metropolitan police and the National Guard and maintenance and custodial crews and the print journalists and TV people who were here,’ Raskin said.
In contrast, Trump attorney Bruce Castor started off his defense of the former president with a rambling soliloquy that veered between name-dropping the senators he knows and praising the Senate for its work.
‘And you know, senators of the United States, they are not ordinary people. There are extraordinary people in the technical sense, extraordinary people,’ Castor said.
‘I have been around the United States senators before. Two of them in this room from Pennsylvania and I would like to think are friendly towards me or at least friends of mine when we are not politically adverse,’ he noted.
He talked about how he worked in the Senate forty years ago and ‘I got lost then and I still do.’
He eventually got around to mentioning Donald Trump. He launched a general defense about the freedom of speech, noting people have the right to disagree with anyone, even Trump.
‘I do not expect and I don’t believe former president expect anybody to walk back any of the language. If that is how they feel about the way things transparent over the last couple of years in his country, they should be allowed to say that. And I will go to court and defend them if anything happens to them as a result,’ Castor said.
One of the arguments Trump’s legal team made is that his speech the morning of January 6th was not inciting a mob but protected free speech under the first amendment.
‘We cannot possibly be suggesting that we punish people for political speech in this country,’ he said.