Friday consisted primarily of a three-hour “defense” of Trump by his legal team. However, that three-hour period only seemed to contain about five minutes of information, as Trump’s team repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly replayed the same utterly expected clips—an 11-minute montage of Democratic politicians using the word “fight” in various contexts, and another series of clips showing violence from … honestly who knows? All of it simply leaned into the prime Fox News fantasy that last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests were incredibly violent, that Democratic officials were fine with that, and that what Trump did leading up to Jan. 6 was just “ordinary political rhetoric.”
For the Ted Cruz caucus, all this was great. And they should have been happy, since Cruz was just one of several Republican senators who actually camped out in the conference room with the Trump legal team and helped them plan their “strategy.” Apparently, having a team of puppets ready to repeat what you tell them is something many Republicans find satisfying.
The Washington Post kept a running list of the lies being told by Trump’s legal team. That list didn’t quite get to the 30,000+ claims of their boss, but then, they only had three hours. And they certainly gave it a try.
The list of statements taken out of context was legion. The effort to claim that Trump never championed violence was ludicrous. And the claim that, when Trump mistyped “calvary” rather than “cavalry,” it meant that he was talking about giving D.C. in injection of Jesus rather than a flood of militia, was just eye rolling.
But the strangest statement might have been when attorney Michael van der Veen claimed that “One of the first people to be arrested was the leader of antifa.” But apparently antifa is composed of leprechauns, because van der Even added that “sadly, he was also among the first to be released”; apparently he just pulled a Keyser Söze. It’s not actually possible to attach a fact to this statement, since van der Veen was simply, what’s that word? Lying. But so far as anyone has been able to tell, van der Veen may be making this claim about … the only Black guy arrested for going into the Capitol. As LA Magazine reports, the guy was an “apolitical” rabble-rouser who “thrives on chaos.” His biggest role in the insurrection seems to be that he’s the guy who filmed the shooting of Ashli Babbitt. His connection to antifa appears to be … completely nonexistent.
In any case … if things go according to schedule today, there will first be closing arguments from each side. Then the Senate will proceed immediately to a vote on whether to convict Trump on the single article of impeachment. Should enough votes be collected for conviction, there would then be a second vote on disqualifying Trump from holding public office in the future. That second vote would require only a simple majority.
However, this whole schedule would be upset should the House managers request witnesses. If that happens, it will be up first, with a vote on calling witnesses. That vote would also require only a simple majority. In Trump’s last impeachment proceeding, the vote to hear witnesses lost 51 to 49.
Should there be a vote to hear witnesses, the Senate will likely be done for the day, while the House managers round up whoever they want to speak. Just remember—every claim that hearing witnesses is somehow keeping the nation from dealing with the Trump pandemic, the Trump recession, or the various other Trump disasters, is simply a lie. Next week, the senators weren’t going to be doing any of that. There is time to do this thing right.