Michael van der Veen, one of former President Donald Trump’s defense lawyers in his Senate impeachment trial argued on Feb. 12 that Trump’s speech prior to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol called for his supporters to “exercise their rights peacefully and patriotically.”
“No thinking person could seriously believe that the president’s Jan. 6 speech from the ellipse was in any way an incitement to violence of insurrection,” van der Veen said. “The suggestion is patently absurd on its face. Nothing in the text could ever be construed as encouraging, condoning or enticing unlawful activity of any kind.”
During his address on the day of the attack, Trump said, “We will never give up. We will never concede, it doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore and that’s what this is all about. To use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal.”
Van der Veen spoke as the former president’s defense team offered their case for why the Senate should acquit Trump on the charge of inciting an insurrection for his role in the Capitol attack. Trump was impeached by the House in January, while he was still in office.
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