Lawyer Michael van der Veen on former President Donald Trump’s impeachment defense team said Friday that because the Capitol riot was “apparently premeditated,” “you cannot incite what was already going to happen.”
Van der Veen said a minor amount of people intending to cause harm took advantage of the protest. He said radicals took advantage of the protest and planned the Capitol riot, referencing “publicly available reporting.” (RELATED: Trump ‘Not Happy’ With Defense Team’s First Showing In Impeachment Trial)
“One of the first people arrested was a leader of antifa. Sadly, he was also among the first to be released. From the beginning, the president has been clear,” van der Veen said. “The criminals who infiltrated the Capitol must be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”
He added, “The fact that the attacks were apparently premeditated, as alleged by the house managers, demonstrates the ludicrousness of the incitement allegation against the president. You can’t incite what was already going to happen.”
Van der Veen praised law enforcement at the riot, saying, “our country owes them an eternal debt.”
He continued, “But there must be a discussion of the decision by political leadership regarding forced posture and security in advance of the event.”
Body camera footage Democratic California Rep. Eric Swalwell, an impeachment manager, showed on Wednesday depicts mobsters beating a police officer. Rioters breached the Capitol building on Jan. 6 after a protest turned into a deadly riot against the Electoral College’s certification of the presidential election results.
Convicting the former president requires 67 Senate votes, including at least 17 from Republicans, according to The Hill. The trial is set to last the weekend and may conclude at the beginning of next week.
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