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,’ 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 unit states senate should focus on that instead of some of their nonsense,’ he added.
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.
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
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.
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