Fact check: Trump lawyer closes impeachment defense with a barrage of dishonesty – About Your Online Magazine

Before Trump’s Senate absolution on Saturday, on charges of inciting the January 6 uprising on Capitol Hill, Trump’s lawyer, Michael van der Veen, presented a final argument filled with false and misleading claims.
This followed a Friday session in which van der Veen delivered other false and misleading claims. That followed a written process on Monday in which van der Veen and his colleagues most false and misleading claims.

Here is a fact check on some of the things van der Veen said on Saturday, as well as a fact check on a false claim made by a Democratic impeachment manager during Saturday’s closing arguments.

Van der Veen said the Capitol insurrection was “pre-planned and premeditated by marginal groups from the left and right”.

Facts first: This is false: there is no evidence that left-wing groups were involved in planning or participating in the insurrection. Members of Right wing groupson the contrary, they were charged with planning and participating. Although Trump’s legal team has repeatedly tried muddy the waters, the evidence shows that it was Trump supporters who were most responsible for the attack.
Numerous participants are accused in court documents of telling the FBI that their actions were motivated by their support for Trump – and some even said they felt that they had been directly instructed by Trump to act. While some alleged participants Because they have idiosyncratic political histories and ideologies that are difficult to identify, there is no basis for the suggestion that organized leftist entities were involved in the insurrection.
It is also important to note that some of the criminal behavior that day was supposed to be planned in advance, but some was not. Just a handful of the more than 200 criminal cases filed to date indicate that protesters showed up that day with the intention of violating the Capitol.

Trump and incitement

Van der Veen said the House’s impeachment administrators did not show “a single example of Trump urging anyone to get involved in violence of any kind”.

He then added: “At no time have you heard anything that could be interpreted as Mr. Trump encouraging or sanctioning an insurrection. Senators, you have not heard these tapes because they do not exist.”

Facts first: Obviously, it is not true that Trump made no comment that could “possibly” be interpreted as encouraging or sanctioning an insurrection. Multiple alleged insurrectionists or their lawyers claimed to the FBI or in court what Trump’s words inspired them to take action that day.

It is possible that some of the people facing charges are simply trying to pass the blame on to Trump after the fact. But it is perfectly clear that Trump’s words were understood by some listeners as a presidential endorsement of an uprising.

Trump’s words before January 6

Van der Veen said: “Mr. Trump did not spend the weeks before January 6 inciting violence. He spent those weeks chasing his election challenge through the judicial system and other legal procedures, just as the Constitution and Congress prescribed. . ”

Facts first: This is a highly incomplete account of Trump’s behavior after the election. Instead of simply filing lawsuits and waiting for court decisions, Trump set up a ruthless public campaign to convince his supporters of the lie that they had been deceived until victory. He also asked supporters to come to Washington for a January 6 protest against him promised it would be “wild”.

Biden, Harris and the condemnations of violence

Van der Veen echoed false attacks that Trump himself had made in the past, claiming that President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris “repeatedly refused to condemn” acts of violence during the disturbances last year.

Facts first: This is fake. Biden and Harris condemned riots and violence in the past year on several occasions. They expressed support for peaceful protest.

In August, Biden said, “I want to be very clear about all this: riots are not protests. Looting is not protest. Setting fire is not protesting. None of this is protesting. It is illegal, quite simply. And those who do should be prosecuted. Violence should not be prosecuted. it will bring change, it will only bring destruction. It is wrong in every way. ”
Harris made a distinction between peaceful and violent protest in his own August statement, saying, “We must always defend peaceful protests and peaceful protesters. We must not confuse them with those who plunder and commit acts of violence.” She added: “We are not going to let these vigilantes and extremists get in the way of justice.”
In October, Biden and Harris issued a joint demonstration after the fatal police shot by Walter Wallace Jr., a black man in Philadelphia who carried a knife during what his family said was a mental health crisis. Biden and Harris said that “no amount of anger at the real injustices in our society justifies violence” and that “looting is not a protest, it is a crime”.

The moment of judgment

Van der Veen said it was the Democrats’ fault that there were constitutional questions about holding an impeachment trial for a president who is no longer in office. He said: “They agreed with the article. They could have tried the president while he was still in office if they really believed he was an imminent threat. They didn’t.”

Facts first: It is incorrect for van der Veen to blame Democrats for the Senate’s decision to hold the trial after Trump stepped down. Democrats proposed to try Trump while he was still in office; it was Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, then majority leader, who rejected the idea, rejecting Democrats suggestion to bring the Senate back on an emergency basis for a trial before Biden’s inauguration.
McConnell said on January 13, the day the House voted to impeach Trump, that there was no chance that a “fair or serious” Senate trial could be completed before his inauguration.

Trump’s previous comments on violence

One of the impeachment managers of Casa Democrática, Rep. Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania, spoke during the closing arguments about Trump’s rhetoric before the insurrection.

“Donald Trump knew the people he was inciting. Before January 6, he saw the violence they were capable of. He had a pattern and practice of praising and encouraging supporters of violence – never condemning,” said Dean.

Facts first: It is true that Trump had a pattern of encouraging or applauding supporters of violence; we listed nine examples in a fact check on Friday. But it is not true that Trump “never” condemned violence or support for violence. Trump has issued repeated convictions.
Trump was vocal last year, in his denunciation of violence linked to protests for racial justice and alleged violence associated with the Antifa movement. In both cases, he was transparent in his efforts to use these incidents as a club against his Democratic opponents.
But he also condemned violence of other types on several other occasions. Those include an anti-Semitic massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018, the bomb sending in 2018 for Trump’s political opponents and CNN, mass shootings in Texas and Ohio in 2019, and a anti-Semitic stab attack in New York in 2019.
“No nation can succeed if it tolerates violence or the threat of violence as a method of political intimidation, coercion or control. We all know that. Such conduct must be fiercely opposed and firmly prosecuted, ”he said. said in an October 2018 speech in which he discussed postal bombs.

Paula Fonseca