Trump’s defense team to wrap up impeachment argument in a day or less

From left, David Schoen, Bruce Castor and Michael van der Veen, lawyers for former President Donald Trump, arrive at the Capitol on the third day of the second impeachment trial of Trump in the Senate, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, in Washington. AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Lawyers for former president Donald Trump are planning to begin and wrap up their defense in his impeachment trial in less than a day, using far fewer than their allotted argument hours.

That’s according to his senior adviser Jason Miller, who said there could even be enough time left over for planned questioning to begin.

The rules for the trial gave both sides two days for arguments, lasting up to eight hours each day. Democratic House impeachment prosecutors have used their time to air searing video footage of the January 6 attack on the Capitol building and to build their case that Trump was responsible for the rioters’ conduct that day.

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One of Donald Trump’s lawyers Thursday called the presentation by House impeachment managers “offensive.”

David Schoen told reporters that Democrats were “making a movie” and had yet to tie the Jan. 6 siege at the U.S. Capitol to the former president.

He contended that the use of chilling video of the riot shown repeatedly by House Democrats during Wednesday’s arguments was impeding efforts to bring unity.

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Friday is the day Trump’s lawyers are set to begin. It remains unclear when the final vote will take place, but Republicans have expressed a desire to wrap the trial quickly, even by Saturday.

South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds said he thinks most senators “would like to have this completed by Saturday.”

Click to play video: 'Trump impeachment: Leading impeachment manager calls former president Trump ‘inciter-in-chief’'
Trump impeachment: Leading impeachment manager calls former president Trump ‘inciter-in-chief’

Earlier, House Democratic prosecutors began their second day of arguments in former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial by offering multiple examples of how Trump had cheered on or promoted acts of violence among his supporters in the years leading up to the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6.

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Lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin said that the litany of examples showed “obvious intent” as Trump told his supporters to come to Washington, and then to “fight like hell” just before they laid siege to the U.S. Capitol.

Click to play video: 'Trump impeachment: Former president ‘deliberately encouraged’ Capitol violence, Rep. Plaskett argues'
Trump impeachment: Former president ‘deliberately encouraged’ Capitol violence, Rep. Plaskett argues

Raskin showed clips of Trump encouraging violence and also sanctioning violence afterward – including his telling a crowd to “knock the crap out of” a protester at one of his speeches. He told the crowd that he would pay their legal fees if they did. Another clip showed him saying it was “very, very appropriate” when some of his supporters attacked a protester at a Trump event. “That’s what we need a little bit more of,” Trump said.

The Democrats also laid out evidence that Trump showed no concern for people who may have been endangered, or remorse for the role he played, including when Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was the target of a white supremacist plot in her state.

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Raskin said Jan. 6 “was not some unexpected, radical break from his normal law-abiding and peaceful disposition.”

Urging senators to convict Trump of “incitement of insurrection” and ban him from holding future office, Raskin said Trump knew that if he egged them on, “his most extreme followers would show up bright and early, ready to attack, ready to engage in violence, ready to fight like hell for their hero.”

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