Former President Donald Trump’s defense team dodged when asked when Trump learned of the violence at the Capitol on January 6th and what he did to stop it during the Friday session of Trump’s Senate impeachment trial.
Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine issued the question to Trump’s defense team Friday afternoon. Defense lawyer Michael van der Veen argued that the House impeachment managers had not “investigated” the timeline of Trump’s response to the violence and that the defense therefore had no evidence to go off. (RELATED: ‘Impeachment Is Just The Beginning’: Legal Analyst Predicts Criminal Charges For Trump)
“Exactly when did President Trump learn of the breach of the Capitol, and what specific actions did he take to bring the rioting to an end, and when did he take them?” The senators asked. “Please be as detailed as possible.”
Trump’s defense team remained silent for nearly a minute before asking the clerk to read the question again.
“The House managers have given us absolutely no evidence one way or the other onto that question,” Van der Veen said. “On the day, we have a tweet at 2:38, so it was certainly some time before then. With the rush to bring this impeachment there’s been absolutely no investigation into that.”
Question from Senators Collins & Murkowski: “Exactly when did President Trump learn of the breach of the Capitol. What specific actions did he take to bring the rioting to an end and when did he take them? Please be as detailed as possible.”
Watch Michael van der Veen answer. pic.twitter.com/X4vhsFpSSY
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 12, 2021
The House impeachment managers were asked a similar variation of the question minutes later. They argued that with the Capitol riots broadcasting live on television and Trump having access to presidential intelligence gathering, he must have known about the violence hours before he took any known actions to prevent it.
Trump’s impeachment team argued Friday that Trump could not be convicted for “inciting” the Capitol riots because the riot was inevitable.
“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 told senators.