Former President Donald Trump’s legal team on Friday accused legislators of hypocrisy as they played lengthy video montages of elected officials speaking about committing assault against Trump, threatening his supporters, and backing protests last year that regularly turned violent.
Going on the offense in their first day of presentations during Trump’s second impeachment trial, the attorneys used a strategy pushed by many conservatives.
Michael van der Veen argued that Trump did not use any inciting language on Jan. 6 before the breach of the Capitol, but that numerous members of Congress have.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) “herself said the 2016 election was hijacked and that Congress has a a duty to protect our democracy,” he told the Senate. “She also called the president an imposter and a traitor, and recently referred to our colleagues in the House as ‘the enemy within.’”
“Moreover, many Democrat politicians endorsed and encouraged the riots that destroyed vast swaths of American cities last summer,” he added. “When violent left-wing anarchists conducted a sustained assault on a federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon, Speaker Pelosi did not call it an insurrection. Instead, she called the federal law enforcement officers protecting the building storm troopers. When violent mobs destroyed public property she said, ‘People will do what they do.’”
Rioters, some affiliated with anarcho-communist network Antifa and Black Lives Matter, ransacked stores across major U.S. cities last year, and severely damaged government and civic buildings.
David Schoen, another Trump lawyer, later played video clips of Pelosi and others making inflammatory comments.