Donald Trump’s lawyers are arguing that his words to his supporters who attacked the U.S. Capitol – to “fight like hell” – are common political rhetoric, using a video montage to show almost every single Senate Democrat using the word “fight” in political speeches.
The lengthy video featured Vice President Kamala Harris, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and countless other Democrats using the word “fight,” without context. The video also featured most of the Democratic impeachment managers who are prosecuting the case that Trump incited the violent insurrection.
Once the video finished, lawyer David Schoen pointed at both the senators and the impeachment managers and told them to “stop the hypocrisy.” The Democratic prosecutors have argued that Trump’s supporters were primed for violence on Jan. 6, the day of the attack, and that he egged them on with “obvious intent” before they interrupted the electoral count of votes. Five people died in the chaos.
The lawyers followed that with additional videos of Democrats praising protests after the death of George Floyd in Minnesota last year and also challenging the elections of previous Republican presidents. Trump’s supporters attacked the Capitol after he falsely said for months that the presidential election was stolen.
The strategy from Donald Trump’s lawyers is to concede that violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was every bit as traumatic, unacceptable and illegal as Democrats say. But his team disputes that Trump had anything to do with it. The goal is to blunt the impact of the House Democrats’ visceral case and quickly pivot to what the defense lawyers see as the more winnable issue of the trial: whether Trump incited the deadly riot.