Wednesday, October 20

Impeachment: Trump’s Lawyers Say “Fight Like Hell” Speech Didn’t Spark Riot | The impeachment of Trump (2021)


In a damning summary of the case against Donald Trump to be made at his impeachment next week, House prosecutors on Tuesday released an 80-page memo documenting how the then-president called his supporters to Washington and released them. against the United States. Capitol.

Describing scenes of violence inside the Capitol in previously undisclosed details, prosecutors accused Trump of creating a “tinderbox” of discontent among supporters who on January 6 turned into an “armed, angry and dangerous” mob.

Trump’s lawyers issued a weak argument 14 page document who said that his speech did not amount to a call to storm the Capitol, and argued that his trial was unconstitutional because he left office.

The defense did not argue that the election had been stolen, as Trump continues to do even though such baseless claims have been refuted and dismissed. That brought the defense in line with Senate Republicans, 45 of whom voted against even holding the trial.

In their memorandum, the House impeachment managers said Trump supporters had come to Washington “prepared to do whatever it takes to keep him in power. All they needed to hear was that their president needed them to ‘fight like hell’. All they needed was for President Trump to strike a match. “

They blamed the violence that followed – five were killed, hundreds were injured, members of Congress and staff were terrified, and the building was left with “bullet marks on the walls, looted art, stained feces in the hallways” – directly on the street. Trump door.

“President Trump’s responsibility for the events of January 6 is unmistakable,” prosecutors charged.

The document paved the way for a dramatic showdown next week, prosecutors indicated they will use new images and eyewitness accounts, believed to include testimony from police officers, to present their case in the public eye and to extract the maximum political price of the republicans. willing to refuse to convict Trump regardless of the evidence against him.

Trump is accused of incitement to insurrection. If convicted, Trump could be barred from political office. But it seems unlikely that Democrats will find the 17 votes they need.

Trump’s lawyers said: “It is denied that President Trump incited the crowd to engage in destructive behavior.

“It is denied that the phrase ‘if you don’t fight like hell, you won’t have a country anymore’ has anything to do with the action on Capitol Hill, since it was clearly about the need to fight for electoral security in general, such as The recording of the speech shows it ”.

Trump’s strategy was the result of a late personnel change. After five attorneys resigned over the weekend, the former president announced two new attorneys, frequent Fox News contributor David Schoen and former county attorney Bruce Castor, as replacements.

Shoe saying Fox News “President Trump has condemned violence at all times” and “this has nothing to do with President Trump.” That claim seemed to fade alongside dozens of pages of quotes from Trump with footnotes dating back six months that dot the document filed by House managers. The document culminated in a description of Trump’s speech to supporters before sending them to Capitol Hill.

“As he surveyed the tense crowd before him, President Trump made him frantic and exhorted his followers to ‘fight like hell.’ [or] you’re not going to have a country anymore, ‘”the memo read. “Then he pointed them directly at the Capitol, declaring: ‘You will never take back our country in weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong. ‘

“He summoned a mob to Washington, exhorted them to be frantic and pointed them like a loaded cannon down Pennsylvania Avenue,” prosecutors charged.

The nature of Trump’s defense had been in question for weeks, amid reports that he insisted that lawyers base his case on the central lie that the election was stolen. A team led by South Carolina attorney Butch Bowers resisted the strategy, but the relationship fell apart over fees, according to multiple reports. The memorandum filed Tuesday said Trump could not stand trial because he had already left office.

“The 45th president believes and therefore affirms that, as a private citizen, the Senate has no jurisdiction over his ability to hold office,” he said.

The argument was anticipated and vigorously refuted by House prosecutors, who wrote: “That argument is incorrect. It is also dangerous. “

“… There is no ‘January Exception’ to impeachment or any other provision of the constitution. A president must respond in a comprehensive manner for his conduct in office from his first day to the last. “

The impeachment article was approved in a bipartisan vote in the House. Many constitutional scholars agree that there is a debate over whether Trump’s speeches amount to “incitement” as charged.

“The rights of expression and political participation mean little if the president can provoke illegal action if he loses at the polls,” wrote House administrators. “President Trump’s incitement to lethal violence to interfere with the peaceful transfer of power and nullify the election results was, therefore, a direct attack on the basic principles of the First Amendment.”

The document underscored how closely lawmakers were trapped on Capitol Hill on January 6 and the country escaped more dire violence.

“The rioters chanted, ‘Hang up Mike Pence!’” The memo read, noting that the vice president had informed Trump that he would fulfill his ceremonial role of counting the electoral vote for Joe Biden. “Another yelled, ‘Mike Pence, we’re coming after you … you bloody traitor!’ Others shouted: ‘Tell him [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi, we come for that bitch. “

“To protect our democracy and national security, and to deter any future president who considers provoking violence in pursuit of power, the Senate must convict President Trump and disqualify him from future federal office,” the memo concluded.

“Only after President Trump is held accountable for his actions can the nation move forward with unity of purpose and commitment to the constitution.”


www.theguardian.com

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