After Democrats' visceral prosecution presentation, Trump's defense team take stage in impeachment trial
The prosecution has rested its case in Donald Trump's historic second impeachment trial: It was rooted in emotive, violent images from the U.S. Capitol siege, stark declarations of fact and implorations.
Democratic prosecutors argued that dire harm from Trump's false and violent incitements will long bedevil American democracy unless the Senate convicts him of inciting an insurrection and bars him from future office.
They showed videos of the invaders proudly declaring they were acting on the “president’s orders” to undo Joe Biden's election victory.
The overwhelming menace posed at the deadly insurrection and how much worse it could have been were touchstones of the prosecution's case.
The stage now belongs to Trump's defense lawyers, report Lisa Mascaro, Eric Tucker, Mary Clare Jalonick and Jill Colvin.
As they open their arguments today, they're prepared to concede that violence was every bit as traumatic, unacceptable and illegal as Democrats say. But they'll also dispute that Trump had anything to do with it.
The ready acknowledgment by the defense team of the day's horrors is meant to blunt the impact of the House Democrats’ visceral case and quickly pivot to what they perceive as the more winnable issue of the trial: whether Trump incited the deadly Jan. 6 riot.
Day 3 Trial Highlights: ‘We were invited here,’ a history of violence and a quick defense, captured by Brian Slodysko.
VIDEO: Rep. Raskin makes prosecution's closing arguments, poses questions.
What to Watch as Trump’s lawyers set to deliver impeachment defense.
VIDEO: Defense to argue Trump not tied to riot violence.
Trump Back in Spotlight: For two days, it’s been wall-to-wall Trump. But not on his terms. House impeachment managers have aired footage of him addressing supporters and played video compilations of his rallies, his press conferences and his calls to Fox News. They’ve brought his suspended Twitter account back from the dead, reading his tweets aloud from the Senate chamber. After nearly a month sequestered out of sight at his gilded Palm Beach club, the former president has been thrust back into the spotlight during his second impeachment trial. Barred from social media, Trump has been watching the drama unfold far from Washington, with none of his former megaphone tools to fight back, Jill Colvin and Jonathan Lemire report.
Trump's Lawyer: Bruce Castor, a onetime rising-star prosecutor from suburban Philadelphia, made something of a comeback earlier this week in heading to the well of the U.S. Senate to defend his client, the ex-president. Castor had burned bridges with much of the Republican establishment after a series of election losses in Pennsylvania and stayed out of sight. His moment in the national glare on Tuesday was seen as a meandering and at times aimless hourlong disquisition in search of a point. Castor will have a second chance to make a different impression today, Marc Levy reports.
AP FACT CHECK: The senator and Trump's misdialed phone call.