On the fourth day of the former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, it was the turn of Trump’s legal team to present their case in the United States Senate. Trump's lawyers presented their case for nearly four hours.
Trump’s lawyers asserted that the former president’s speech did not cause the January 6 riots at the US Capitol, instead, he was a law and order president.
Trump’s lawyer Bruce Castor presented the arguments, emphasising that there is a complete lack of evidence on the article of impeachment against Donald Trump
"We have a complete lack of evidence for the article of impeachment presented by the House managers," Trump's lawyer Bruce Castor said on the Senate floor.
Castor alleged that this is not a case of insurrection but a political vendetta against Trump.
"Their goal is to eliminate a political opponent, to substitute their judgment for the will of the voters,” Castor said.
Insurrection is a term of art defined in the law. It involves taking over a country, a shadow government, taking the TV stations over, and having some plan on what you're going to do when you finally take power. "This is not that," Castor added.
Bruce Castor also cited the reports from the FBI, the Department of Justice, and several former and present officials, stating that the January 6 riots were pre-planned.
"To answer the question of the House manager, does anybody believe that this would have occurred but for the speech from Donald Trump? I do. All of these facts make clear the January 6 speech did not cause the riots. The president did not cause the riots. He neither explicitly nor implicitly encouraged the use of violence or lawless action, but in fact called for the peaceful exercise of every American's first amendment rights to peaceably assemble and petition their government for the address of grievances," Castor said.
Castor said that from the beginning, the president has been clear -- the criminals who infiltrated the capitol must be punished to the fullest extent of the law. We know that the president would never have wanted such a riot to occur because his long-standing hatred for violent protesters and his love for law and order is on display, worn on his sleeve every single day that he served in the White House," he asserted.
During their defense, Trump lawyers also alleged that House managers manipulated the Trump video to selectively show his speeches.
“The House managers would have you believe that the president's supporters usually follow his every word, but in this case, imputed some imaginary meaning to them while ignoring his most clear instructions,” Castor said.
Trump’s lawyers have wrapped their presentation. Now, this will be followed by a 100-member Senate vote on the impeachment trial, where US Senate is expected to deliver a verdict over the over the weekend.
To impeach Trump, the Senate needs 67 votes, which the political analysts said is a tall order for the Democrats. The Democrats have 50 members and they need the support of 17 of the Republican Senators.
(With inputs from PTI)