• By The Financial District


Donald Trump’s lawyers said Democrats have provided no evidence the former president incited last month’s deadly US Capitol riot and are using his second impeachment trial to settle political scores, David Morgan and Makini Brice reported for Reuters.

Trump is on trial in the US Senate on a charge of inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection by supporters who stormed the seat of Congress in Washington to stop lawmakers from certifying Democratic President Joe Biden’s election victory, resulting in the deaths of five people, including a police officer.

Trump’s lawyers argued that his remarks, including a fiery speech that day urging supporters to “fight like hell” to stop the certification, were protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which ensures the right to free speech and were so confident of an acquittal that his lawyers spent only three hours of their 16 hours to defend Trump, Sergio Flores reported for the New York Times.

“Trump attorney Michael van der Veen accused House Democratic impeachment managers of showing selectively edited scenes of the violence and Trump’s words Jan. 6. Yet he ignored the incendiary substance and tenor of that staging speech as well as the president’s words of affection for the attackers later, while they were still hunting for lawmakers and sacking their offices.

He ignored the fact, too, that all of Trump’s provocations that day and for weeks beforehand had the lie of a stolen election at their core,” Calvin Woodward reported for the Associated Press (AP).

In arguments this week, Democratic members of the House of Representatives showed videos and shared tweets they said made clear Trump had set the stage for the violence by falsely claiming the election results were fraudulent and egging on his supporters with his rhetoric long before Jan. 6.

They said he summoned the mob to Washington, gave the crowd its marching orders and did nothing to stop the violence as it played out on television. His one request to act peacefully did not absolve him, they said.

“You rob the bank, and on the way out the door you yell, ‘Respect private property!’ That’s not a defense to robbing the bank,” Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin told AP. The Senate may come up with the decision on the impeachment trial as early as Saturday (Sunday, February 14, 2021, in Manila) and may censure or bar him from running for any federal position even if he is acquitted, which is likely since 17 Republican senators are needed to convict Trump.