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Trump’s Impeachment Trial Highlights: Defense Rests and Questioning Ends, Likely Setting Up Saturday Vote


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Highlights From Trump’s Impeachment Defense

Lawyers for former President Donald J. Trump delivered a short defense on Friday, arguing that his conviction would threaten free speech and falsely equating his conduct with Democrats’ use of the word “fight.”

“Like every other politically motivated witch hunt the left has engaged in over the past four years, this impeachment is completely divorced from the facts, the evidence and the interests of the American people.” “To claim that the president in any way wished, desired or encouraged lawless or violent behavior is a preposterous and monstrous lie.” “A small group who came to engage in violent and menacing behavior hijacked the event for their own purposes.” “This sham impeachment also poses a serious threat to freedom of speech for political leaders of both parties at every level of government. The Senate should be extremely careful about the president, the precedent, this case will set.” “We heard a lot this week about ‘fight like hell,’ but they cut off the video before they showed you the president’s optimistic, patriotic words that followed immediately after.” “We fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore. Our exciting adventures and boldest endeavors have not yet begun. My fellow Americans, for our movement, for our children and for our beloved country, and I say this despite all that’s happened, the best is yet to come.” “This case, unfortunately, is about political hatred. It has become very clear that the House Democrats hate Donald Trump. This type of political hatred has no place in our political institutions, and certainly no place in the law. This hatred has led the House managers to manipulate and selectively edit Mr. Trump’s speech to make it falsely appear that he sought to incite the crowd to violently attack the Capitol.” “Suddenly, the word ‘fight’ is off limits? Spare us the hypocrisy and false indignation. It’s a term used over and over and over again by politicians on both sides of the aisle. And of course, the Democrat House managers know that the word ‘fight’ has been used figuratively in political speech forever. But don’t take it from me. It’s best to listen to them.” “We are in a fight.” “We are in a fight.” “Democrats are fighting as hard as we can.” “Democrats are standing up to fight.” “We know how to fight. We like a big fight.” “Democrats are going to fight like hell.” “We fight like hell.” “So why are we here? Politics. Their goal is to eliminate a political opponent. To substitute their judgment for the will of the voters.” “We will not take most of our time today, us of the defense, in the hopes that you will take back these hours and use them to get delivery of Covid relief to the American people.”

Lawyers for former President Donald J. Trump delivered a short defense on Friday, arguing that his conviction would threaten free speech and falsely equating his conduct with Democrats’ use of the word “fight.”CreditCredit…Jason Andrew for The New York Times

Lawyers for Donald J. Trump delivered an incendiary but brief defense of the former president on Friday, calling the House’s charge that he incited an insurrection at the Capitol a “preposterous and monstrous lie” as they falsely equated his conduct to Democrats’ own combative rhetoric.

Confident they have enough votes from Republicans to acquit Mr. Trump, the lawyers used only about three of their 16 allotted hours. Their speed allowed senators to complete a period of questioning the prosecution and defense Friday evening and cleared the way for closing arguments and a final verdict, likely on Saturday.

Earlier, the defense team had channeled the former president’s own combative style and embrace of falsehoods to claim, contrary to facts, that Mr. Trump never glorified violence during his presidency and that he consistently called for peace as the rampage at the Capitol unfolded. Showing video clips of Democrats urging their supporters to “fight” and Mr. Trump venerating “law and order,” they sought to rewrite not just the narrative of his campaign to overturn the election but that of his entire presidency.

“This trial is about far more than President Trump,” said Bruce L. Castor Jr., one of the lawyers, as he closed the defense. “It is about silencing the speech the majority does not agree with. It is about canceling 75 million Trump voters and criminalizing political viewpoints.”

The defense’s presentation unfolded after nine House prosecutors spent two days laying out a meticulous case against the former president — dramatized with never-before-seen video of the Jan. 6 riot — portraying the rampage as the direct result of Mr. Trump’s monthslong campaign to overturn the election. Desperate to cling to power, the Democrats argued, Mr. Trump goaded his followers into joining his effort and would do so again, they said, if the Senate failed to convict him and bar him from holding office in the future.

Among the lawyers’ core arguments were that the Senate “lacks jurisdiction” to even try a former president now out of office, that Mr. Trump’s conduct was protected by the First Amendment and that it came nowhere near the legal definition for “incitement.”

But standing before a jury of 100 senators, their case was as political in nature as it was legal. Using a favorite tactic of Mr. Trump’s, his lawyers also sought to defend his behavior by citing that of others, arguing that he could no more be held responsible for the Capitol assault than Democrats could for the violence that erupted at some racial justice protests last summer.

They also sought to selectively poke holes in Democrats’ case. Michael van der Veen, one of the lawyers, insisted on Friday that Mr. Trump had only ever been interested in election security reforms, like voter ID laws — an assertion that directly contradicted months of public and private actions by Mr. Trump. He said the president intended for the Jan. 6 rally he hosted before the attack to be peaceful, but that it had been “hijacked” by extremists, including from the far left — another claim disproved even by Republicans.

Credit…Pool photo by Jabin Botsford

“The reality is Mr. Trump was not in any way shape or form instructing these people to fight using physical violence,” Mr. van der Veen said. “What he was instructing them to do was challenge their opponents in primary elections, to push for sweeping election reforms, to hold big tech responsible — all customary and legal ways to petition your government for redress of grievances.”

Mr. Castor also pointed to tweets by Mr. Trump while the attack was underway telling his supporters to “stay peaceful” and “support our Capitol Police.” But he did not discuss Mr. Trump’s actions during the hours when the Capitol was under attack in which managers’ said he reveled in his success and delayed sending in reinforcements.

“We know that the president would never have wanted such a riot to occur, because his longstanding hatred for violent protesters and his love for law and order is on display, worn on his sleeve, every single day that he served in the White House,” he said.

Later, during the question and answer session, Mr. van der Veen said Mr. Trump had not been aware that his vice president, Mike Pence, had been in danger, even though a senator he called during the attack told him Mr. Pence was being evacuated from the chamber.

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting.

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Senators Begin Question Phase of Trump’s Impeachment Trial

After the close of arguments on Friday afternoon, senators were given the opportunity to directly question the prosecution and the defense.

“The senator from Utah, Mr. Romney, on behalf of himself, and Senator Collins.” “When President Trump sent the disparaging tweet at 2:24 p.m. regarding Vice President Pence, was he aware that vice president had been removed from the Senate by the Secret Service for his safety?” “He said Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our Constitution. The U.S.A. demands the truth.” “At no point was the president informed the vice president was in any danger.” “Senator Graham for himself, Senator Cruz, Senator Marshall, Senator Cramer submits a question for the counsel for Donald Trump.” “Does a politician raising bail for rioters encourage more rioting?” “Yes, the presentation of the president’s lawyers — they really didn’t address the facts of the case at all. There were a couple propaganda reels about Democratic politicians that would be excluded in any court in the land. They talked about the rules of evidence. All of that was totally irrelevant to the case before us. Whatever you think about it, it’s irrelevant. And we’ll be happy to, of course, to address the First Amendment arguments too.”

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After the close of arguments on Friday afternoon, senators were given the opportunity to directly question the prosecution and the defense.CreditCredit…Senate Television, via Associated Press

Senators on Friday afternoon opened their first and last window in the trial to directly question the prosecution and defense. But as they submitted questions in writing one by one, most members of the jury appeared more interested in scoring political points than breaking new ground.

“Does a politician raising bail for rioters encourage more rioting?” read one early question from Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Ted Cruz of Texas and two other Republicans. It was an apparent reference to Democrats who supported bail funds for people arrested while protesting racial violence this summer.

Bruce L. Castor Jr., one of former President Donald J. Trump’s lawyers, gave a one word answer: “Yes.”

Credit…Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times

Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, asked Mr. Trump’s lawyers whether the former president’s “big lie” was correct when he insisted over and over again that he had won the election. If it was an attempt to force his defense to contradict their client, it did not work.

“Who asked that?” responded Michael van der Veen, another lawyer for the former president, looking for Mr. Sanders. “My judgment? My judgments is irrelevant in this proceeding.”

As time ticked by, the former president’s lawyers and the House managers began sniping at each other, too. Mr. van der Veen complained the trial was “the most miserable experience I’ve had down here in Washington, D.C.” and accused Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland and the lead manager, of “doctoring evidence.”

Mr. Raskin was not pleased. “Counsel said before, ‘This has been my worst experience in Washington’,” he said. “For that, I say we’re sorry, but man you should have been here on Jan. 6.”

A short time later, Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, who was presiding over the trial, gently warned that “all parties in this chamber must refrain from using language that is not conducive to civil discourse.”

Credit…Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times

The exception came from a small group of Republican senators openly contemplating conviction. Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana all seemed interested in what Mr. Trump knew about the unfolding riot, when he knew it and what he did about it.

Mr. van der Veen said he could not precisely say when Mr. Trump learned about the attack, but he blamed it on the Democratic managers for building their impeachment on “hearsay on top of hearsay on top of hearsay” rather than a thorough investigation.

“We have a tweet at 2:38 p.m., so it was certainly sometime before then,” he said.

When Mr. Romney and Ms. Collins pressed the lawyers on Mr. Trump’s specific knowledge of the threat to his vice president, Mike Pence, the answer was clearer, but it appeared to contradict the word of Senator Tommy Tuberville, Republican of Alabama, who told reporters this week he informed the president that the vice president was being evacuated from the Senate chamber during a contemporaneous phone call.

“The answer is no,” said Mr. van der Veen. “At no point was the president informed that the vice president was in any danger.”

Democrats scoffed, and argued that any weaknesses in their evidentiary record was the fault of Mr. Trump, who refused an invitation to testify.

“Rather than yelling at us and screaming about how we didn’t have time to get all the facts about what your client did, bring your client up here and have him testify under oath,” Mr. Raskin said.

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Trump Defense Team Presents Video to Counter Prosecution’s Case

Former President Donald J. Trump’s defense team on Friday released a video montage of Democrats encouraging their supporters to “fight” as a contrast to the prosecution’s video of Mr. Trump egging on his supporters before the Jan. 6 riot.

“The House managers spoke about rhetoric, about a constant drumbeat of heated language. Well as I’m sure everyone watching expected, we need to show you some of their own words.” “I just don’t know why there aren’t uprisings all over the country. Maybe there will be.” “There needs to be unrest in the streets for as long as there is unrest in our lives.” “We’ve got to be ready to throw a punch. We have to be able to throw a punch.” “Donald Trump, I think you need to go back and punch him in the face.” “Please get up in the face of some Congresspeople.” “People will do what they do.” “I want to tell you Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind, and you will pay a price.” “If you had to be stuck in an elevator with either President Trump, Mike Pence or Jeff Sessions, who would it be?” “Does one of us have to come out alive.” “I’m just going to keep the fight up.” “What we have to do right now is fight as hard as we can.” “We have to rise up and fight back.” “And so, we’re going to fight. And we’re going to continue to fight.” “I am going to be fighting fighting like hell.” “Keep fighting, fighting, fighting — we kept fighting, and we did. So we’re going to keep fighting.” “Never, never, never give up this fight. I’m a citizen fighting for it — Means not only fighting — As a leader who fought for progressive change — As a lawyer who fought for people his whole life — As well as other fights, and I’m proud to have Tim in this fight.”

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Former President Donald J. Trump’s defense team on Friday released a video montage of Democrats encouraging their supporters to “fight” as a contrast to the prosecution’s video of Mr. Trump egging on his supporters before the Jan. 6 riot.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Former President Donald J. Trump’s defense team offered their own video presentation on Friday — a montage of remarks by Democrats urging supporters to “fight” — a rhetorical drumbeat aimed at countering the impact of the footage of the real fight at the Capitol, images of blood and broken glass, presented by the prosecution on Wednesday.

The strategy by Mr. Trump’s lawyers was to prove that Mr. Trump’s call for his followers to “fight like hell” in a speech shortly before members of the crowd stormed Congress on Jan. 6 was no different than anti-Trump remarks made by Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, Representative Maxine Waters of California, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and other members of Congress.

To make their point, the team played a lengthy mash-up of bellicose statements from Democrats — including President Biden’s claim on the campaign trail that he would have beaten “the hell out of” Mr. Trump in high school.

The presentation, featuring quick-cut editing and the type of ominous music often heard in negative campaign ads, a sharp contrast to the raw footage, sometimes silent, of the attack that was compiled by the House impeachment managers from security cameras and cellphone video, and accompanied by a minute-by-minute timeline.

The defense team’s montage concluded with images of Democrats praising the protests against police violence in cities across the United States last summer, juxtaposed with video of rioting, even though every senior Democrat denounced violence.

“I showed you the video because in this political forum, all robust speech should be protected,” said Michael van der Veen, one of the president’s lawyers.

“When you see speech such as this, you have to apply the First Amendment evenly. Blindly,” he said, adding, “She is blind, lady justice.”

It reflected the argument being promoted by Trump defenders on conservative media outlets like Fox News, and was part of an effort to offer a more defiant defense pushed by the former president, who was dissatisfied with the earlier efforts of his team.

It is not clear that the approach had its desired effect, however.

During the presentation, senators in both parties were overheard chatting and laughing by observers in the chamber. Democrats emerged enraged at what they saw as an argument built upon false equivalence.

“Show me anytime that the result was our supporters pulled someone out of the crowd, beat the living crap out of them and then we said: ‘That’s great. Good for you. You’re a patriot,’” Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware said after watching the video.

Yet the approach might have succeeded in giving Republicans — caught between their disdain for Mr. Trump’s behavior and fear of his hold over the party — enough cover to justify an acquittal.

“The Twitter/CNN/MSNBC bubble will mock & dismiss this defense, but it is going to work with Republican voters and it will give much needed cover and justification to Republican Senators to acquit,” said Joe Walsh, a former Republican congressman and frequent Trump critic, on Twitter during the defense’s arguments.

Senator Mitt Romney asked if President Trump was aware that Vice President Pence had been removed from the Senate on January 6.
Credit…Brandon Bell for The New York Times

As the Capitol was being infiltrated by a mob last month, what did President Donald J. Trump know about Vice President Mike Pence’s whereabouts and when did he know it?

That was a question multiple senators were intent on learning more about Friday evening, during a period in the impeachment trial in which senators questioned the House impeachment managers and Mr. Trump’s lawyers.

At issue was not only when Mr. Trump took any steps to help end the riot, but also a tweet he posted that day at 2:24 p.m. as rioters had breached the Capitol and Mr. Pence was being rushed out of the Senate chamber.

The vice president “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution,’’ Mr. Trump tweeted.

Senator Mitt Romney asked early in the question-and-answer session: “When President Trump sent the disparaging tweet at 2:24 p.m. regarding Vice President Pence, was he aware that Vice President Pence had been removed from the Senate by the Secret Service for his safety?”

“No,’ Michael van der Veen, one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, said bluntly. “At no point,’’ he continued, “was the president informed that the vice president was in any danger.’’

Credit…Kenny Holston for The New York Times

The Democratic House managers, who are serving as prosecutors in the trial, argued that Mr. Trump “had to know” what was going on at the time of his tweet. “The whole world knew it, all of us knew it,’’ said Representative Joaquin Castro, Democrat of Texas. “Live television had by this point shown that the insurgents were already inside the building, and that they had weapons and that the police were outnumbered.’’

The answer also appeared to contradict statements from Senator Tommy Tuberville, Republican of Alabama. Mr. Tuberville told reporters this week about a cellphone call he had with Mr. Trump as the Senate was being evacuated. “Well, I mean, I don’t know if you’ve ever talked to President Trump,’’ he said. “You don’t get many words in, but, uh, he didn’t get a chance to say a whole lot because I said, ‘Mr. President, they just took the vice president out, I’ve got to go.”

The timestamp on Mr. Trump’s tweet about Mr. Pence lacking “courage” shows it was sent about 10 minutes after Mr. Pence was evacuated from the chamber.

Credit…Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times

The Democratic House managers noted Mr. Tuberville’s remarks in their answer to Mr. Romney’s question. Later in the evening, Senator Bill Cassidy, Republican of Louisiana, brought them up again, asking if Mr. Tuberville’s account shows Mr. Trump “was tolerant of the intimidation of Vice President Pence.”

Both sides largely reiterated their arguments.

But Mr. Trump’s lawyer also argued that whatever Mr. Trump knew about Mr. Pence’s whereabouts was irrelevant to the charge against him, “incitement of insurrection.” Other legal analysts might be dubious of that argument. If Mr. Trump was aware of his vice president’s imminent danger, it would conceivably bear on Mr. Trump’s intentions.

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Former President Donald J. Trump’s defense team argued that his Jan. 6 speech, as well as prior statements, were protected under the First Amendment.CreditCredit…Pete Marovich for The New York Times

A core argument of Mr. Trump’s defense, made by Michael van der Veen, one of his lawyers, is that Mr. Trump cannot be convicted of inciting an insurrection because everything he said was protected by his rights to free speech under the Constitution.

Mr. van der Veen — who is a personal injury lawyer, not a civil liberties lawyer — dismissed a letter signed last week by 144 constitutional scholars and First Amendment lawyers from across the political spectrum, who called a free speech defense of Mr. Trump “legally frivolous” and not grounds for dismissing the charge against him.

Nonetheless, Mr. van der Veen argued, “Mr. Trump’s speech deserves full protection under the First Amendment.” He cited Supreme Court cases holding that elected officials can engage in political speech.

Adam Liptak, who covers the Supreme Court for The New York Times, addressed the argument in a live analysis.

“It’s true, of course, that elected officials have First Amendment rights,” Mr. Liptak wrote. “It’s also true that government officials may be fired for making statements that would otherwise be protected political speech. An impeachment trial may present that second sort of question.”

Mr. Liptak quoted from the House impeachment managers’ brief that addressed the First Amendment argument advanced by Mr. Trump’s lawyers: “Under President Trump’s view of the First Amendment, even a sitting President who strenuously urged States to secede from the Union and rebel against the federal government would be immune from impeachment.”

FACT CHECK

Michael van der Veen, defense attorney for former President Donald J. Trump, on Friday.
Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Donald J. Trump’s lawyers, mounting their defense of the former president on Friday, made a number of inaccurate or misleading claims about the Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol, Mr. Trump’s remarks and the impeachment process itself. Here are some of them.

On the former president’s own words in his speech at the Jan. 6 rally.

Michael van der Veen, one of the lawyers, misleadingly said that Mr. Trump did not express “a desire that the joint session be prevented from conducting its business” but rather “the entire premise of his remarks was that the democratic process would and should play out according to the letter of the law.” But Mr. Trump repeatedly urged former Vice President Mike Pence to “send it back to the States to recertify” and noted that he was “challenging the certification of the election.”

“Far from promoting insurrection of the United States, the president’s remarks explicitly encouraged those in attendance to exercise their rights peacefully and patriotically,” Mr. van der Veen said. Mr. Trump used the phrase “peacefully and patriotically” once in his speech, compared to 20 uses of the word “fight.”

On the role of left-wing antifa activists.

Mr. van der Veen also claimed that one of the first people arrested in connection with the riots at the Capitol “was the leader of antifa.” That was a hyperbolic reference to John E. Sullivan, a Utah man who was charged on Jan. 15 for violent entry and disorderly conduct. Mr. Sullivan, an activist, has said he was there to film the siege. He has referred to antifa — a loose collective of antifascist activists that has no leader — on social media, but he has repeatedly denied being a member of the movement, though he shares its beliefs.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has said there is no evidence that supporters of the antifa movement had participated in the Jan. 6 siege.

On a previous protest outside the White House.

Mr. van der Veen equated the Jan. 6 siege to the protests at Lafayette Square in front of the White House last summer, and presented a false timeline, claiming that “violent rioters” repeatedly attacked Secret Service officers and “at one point, pierced a security wall, culminating in the clearing of Lafayette Square.”

There was no breach. Law enforcement officials began clearing Lafayette Square after 6 p.m. on June 1, to allow Mr. Trump to pose, while holding a Bible, in front of a church near the square. Additional security fencing was installed after those events, according to local news reports and the National Park Service.

On Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Similarly, Mr. van der Veen compared Mr. Trump’s complaints and political language about the 2020 election with concerns about the integrity of the 2016 election, arguing that “the entire Democratic Party and national news media spent the last four years repeating without any evidence that the 2016 election had been hacked.” But American intelligence agencies concluded years ago that Russia tried to interfere in the 2016 election. The Republican-led Senate agreed last year that Russia disrupted that election to help Mr. Trump.

On the timing of when the article of impeachment was delivered.

David Schoen, another lawyer, misleadingly claimed that the House held on to the article of impeachment until “Democrats had secured control over the Senate” and “Representative Clyburn made clear they had considered holding the articles for over 100 days to provide President Biden with a clear pathway to implement his agenda.”

In fact, Democrats had considered delivering the article to the Senate earlier, almost immediately after it was approved, but Senator Mitch McConnell, then the majority leader, precluded the possibility of an immediate trial in a letter informing Republican lawmakers that the Senate was in recess and “may conduct no business until January 19.” Mr. Clyburn made his suggestion of withholding the article even longer, after Mr. McConnell had sent his letter.

On a graphic the House managers were preparing for their case.

Mr. Schoen also accused Democrats of presenting a “manufactured graphic,” referring to a New York Times photo of Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland and the lead impeachment manager, looking at a computer screen. The screen featured an image of a tweet Mr. Trump shared stamped with an erroneous date. Left unsaid was that the image was recreated because Mr. Trump has been banned from Twitter and House managers could not simply show the retweet itself. Mr. Schoen then acknowledged that House managers fixed the incorrect date before presenting the graphic during the trial.

On whether Mr. Trump had due process.

Mr. Schoen complained once again that the impeachment did not afford Mr. Trump “due process” — a point Mr. Trump’s lawyers and supporters had previously argued during his first impeachment, and a point law scholars had dismissed.

There are no “enforceable rights” to due process in a House inquiry, and while those rights exist in the Senate trial, they are limited, said Frank O. Bowman III, a law professor at the University of Missouri and an expert on impeachment. Former President Andrew Johnson, for example, was impeached by the House before it even drew up the articles.

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‘I Thought We Were Past That,’ Plaskett Says in Impassioned Speech

In the question portion of the impeachment trial Friday, Stacey Plaskett, delegate from the U.S. Virgin Islands, spoke fervently about the role of race before, during and after the Capitol riot.

Let me also bring something else up. I’ll briefly say that defense counsels put a lot of videos out in their, in their defense, playing clip after clip of black women talking about fighting for a cause or an issue or a policy. It was not lost on me as so many of them were people of color and women, black women, black women like myself who are sick and tired of being sick and tired for our children. Your children. Our children. This summer, things happened that were violent, but there were also things that gave some of us black women great comfort. Seeing Amish people from Pennsylvania standing up with us, members of Congress fighting up with us. And so I thought we were past that. I think maybe we’re not. There are longstanding consequences, decisions like this that will define who we are as a people. Who America is. We have in this room made monumental decisions. You all have made monumental decisions. We’ve declared wars, passed civil rights acts, ensured that no one in this country is a slave. Every American has the right to vote, unless you live in a territory. At this time some of these decisions are even controversial, but history has shown that they define us as a country and as a people. Today is one of those moments, and history will wait for our decision.

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In the question portion of the impeachment trial Friday, Stacey Plaskett, delegate from the U.S. Virgin Islands, spoke fervently about the role of race before, during and after the Capitol riot.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Delegate Stacey Plaskett, Democrat of the Virgin Islands and one of the impeachment managers, called out the lawyers for former President Donald J. Trump on Friday for their use of footage of women of color as part of their efforts to equate statements made by Democrats to their supporters with those made by Mr. Trump ahead of the assault on the Capitol.

At issue was a montage of video clips of Democrats urging their supporters to “fight” and Mr. Trump venerating “law and order.” The montage included clips of some Black Democrats, including Vice President Kamala Harris, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and Representative Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts.

In remarks that drew widespread praise among Democrats on social media, Ms. Plaskett pointed out the difference between women of color urging their followers to fight for civil rights and the speeches of Mr. Trump, whose followers attacked the Capitol seeking to overturn the results of a legitimate election.

“I’ll briefly say that defense counsels put a lot of videos out in their defense, playing clip after clip of Black women talking about fighting for a cause or an issue or a policy,” Ms. Plaskett said. “It’s not lost on me that so many of them were people of color and women. Black women. Black women like myself who are sick and tired of being sick and tired for our children, your children.”

Ms. Plaskett’s remarks, along with her presentations made throughout the impeachment trial, earned her an instant fan base among Democrats.

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

The comedian Leslie Jones tweeted of photo of Ms. Plaskett dressed as a superhero with the phrase: “When you forget to change out of your uniform before starting your day job.”

“Two days ago I didn’t know who Stacey Plaskett was and now she’s my wallpaper. In my kitchen,” another comedian, Randy Rainbow, wrote on Twitter.

Born in Brooklyn to parents who hailed from the Virgin Islands, Ms. Plaskett graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in history and diplomacy, and from American University’s Washington College of Law. She worked as an assistant district attorney in the Bronx, as counsel to the House ethics committee, and as a political appointee at the Justice Department under President George W. Bush, among other positions.

While she could not vote for impeachment because she represents a territory, not a state, Ms. Plaskett was nevertheless selected as one of nine impeachment managers by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Ms. Plaskett also noted during her remarks that her own constituents in the Virgin Islands cannot vote in presidential elections.

“Every American has the right to vote,” she said. “Unless you live in a territory.”

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, is expected to tell former President Donald J. Trump that Republicans can’t win the House and Senate in 2022 without him.
Credit…Jason Andrew for The New York Times

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said on Friday that he plans to meet with former President Donald J. Trump in the coming weeks to “talk about the future of the Republican Party” as it remains fractured in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

With Mr. Trump, his allies and loyal voters targeting Republican lawmakers who criticized the former president’s role in the attack, including some who voted to impeach him, Mr. Graham’s plans are the latest indication that top Republicans have not left the former president’s corner and are seeking his support as they try to regain power in Washington.

“I do believe the test for the Republican Party is: Can we pick up the House, and/or Senate in 2022?” Mr. Graham said. “For that to happen, Trump’s got to work with everybody.”

Late last month, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the minority leader, met with Mr. Trump at his Florida estate for what aides described as a “good and cordial” meeting, and the majority of Senate Republicans are expected to acquit Mr. Trump as early as Saturday in the impeachment trial.

Like Mr. McCarthy, Mr. Graham had initially rebuked the president for his comments on Jan. 6 and his slow reaction to the mob storming the Capitol. But his comments on Friday, outlining his planned message to the president, indicated that he was fully intent on continuing to mend fences between congressional Republicans and the president.

He declared that the race for Republicans to try to win back both the House and the Senate “begins the Trump comeback in terms of he was a consequential president with good policies.”

“I’m going to try and convince him that we can’t get there without you, but you can’t keep the Trump movement going without the G.O.P. united,” Mr. Graham said as he left the Capitol Friday night. “If we come back in 2022, then it’s an affirmation of your policies. But if we lose again in 2022, then it’s going to be — the narrative is going to continue that not only you lost The White House, but the Republican Party is in a bad spot.”

But he added, “If it’s about revenge and going after people you don’t like, we’re going to have a problem.”

David Schoen, one of former President Trump’s defense attorneys, being interviewed on Thursday.
Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

Just a few hours before former President Donald J. Trump’s defense lawyers were to appear in the well of the Senate, Mr. Trump’s team was still hashing out the order of appearance of his two chief attorneys. In the end, they decided that a third lawyer, Michael van der Veen, would deliver the opening act.

The uncertainty apparently stemmed from Bruce L. Castor Jr.’s widely panned appearance on Tuesday, when he delivered a rambling, unfocused opening statement that enraged his client. Mr. Trump has told several people he did not want to hear from Mr. Castor anymore, people familiar with the Trump team’s discussions said. But the former president’s second defense lawyer, David I. Schoen, has not been hired to handle the entire presentation, and so Mr. Castor will need to be involved.

The lawyers are a substitute team, most of them called in after Mr. Trump abruptly parted ways with another group of lawyers about a week before the trial began because of differences over how to defend him.

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Mr. Castor, 59, is a former district attorney of Montgomery County, Pa., who is best-known for deciding not to prosecute Bill Cosby in a sexual assault case. Well known in Pennsylvania Republican politics, he ran and lost a race for state attorney general and also lost a bid for a third term as county prosecutor. His opponent made an issue of his choice not to pursue Mr. Cosby, who in 2018 went to jail in the same case Mr. Castor decline to prosecute.

Mr. Castor came to Mr. Trump’s attention through his cousin Stephen R. Castor, a staff lawyer to House Republicans who helped defend the president in his first impeachment in 2019.

Mr. Schoen, 62, is an Alabama-based civil rights and criminal defense lawyer. An outspoken supporter of Israel, he has sued Palestinian terrorists and brought a lawsuit against Simon & Schuster for purported misrepresentations in former President Jimmy Carter’s 2006 book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.”

Mr. Trump became aware of Mr. Schoen when he appeared on Fox News and other conservative outlets as a critic of the special counsel investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. Mr. Schoen handled the appeal of Roger J. Stone Jr. after his conviction for trying to impede a congressional investigation — until Mr. Trump granted him clemency.

Mr. van der Veen is the founder of a Philadelphia personal injury and criminal defense firm where Mr. Castor also works. The profile of Mr. van der Veen on his firm’s website highlights a series of multi-million-dollar awards in vehicle accidents.

Both of Mr. Trump’s chief lawyers have experience disputing the weight of strong evidence against a polarizing client. As a prosecutor, Mr. Castor fought the release from prison in 2002 of a man who was exonerated by DNA evidence after a conviction for rape.

For his part, Mr. Schoen argued with the finding of New York City’s chief medical examiner that Jeffrey Epstein, the disgraced financier and accused sex criminal, died by suicide in prison in 2019. Mr. Schoen had met with Mr. Epstein nine days before his death to discuss taking his case.

“I don’t think it was a suicide,” Mr. Schoen said in an interview with The New York Times recently, adding: “I don’t know what happened. I don’t have a conspiracy theory.”

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Senate Honors Officer Eugene Goodman

Senators gave Officer Eugene Goodman of the Capitol Police a standing ovation on Friday as he stood in the chamber. Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, asked the body to pass legislation awarding Officer Goodman a Congressional Gold Medal.

“If not for the quick thinking and bravery of Officer Eugene Goodman in particular, people in this chamber may not have escaped that day unharmed. Officer Goodman’s actions reflect a deep personal commitment to duty and brought even greater distinction upon all his brave brothers and sisters in uniform. So I’m proud the Senate is taking this step forward, recognizing his heroism with the highest honor we can bestow.” “In a moment, I will ask the Senate to pass legislation that would award Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman the Congressional Gold Medal. In the weeks after the attack on January the 6th, the world learned about the incredible, incredible bravery of Officer Goodman on that fateful day. Here in this trial, we saw a new video, powerful video, showing calmness under pressure, his courage in the line of duty, his foresight in the midst of chaos, and his willingness to make himself a target of the mob’s rage so that others might reach safety. Officer Goodman is in the chamber tonight. Officer Goodman, thank you.

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Senators gave Officer Eugene Goodman of the Capitol Police a standing ovation on Friday as he stood in the chamber. Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, asked the body to pass legislation awarding Officer Goodman a Congressional Gold Medal.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Eugene Goodman, the Capitol Police officer who lured a mob away from the entrance of the Senate on Jan. 6, was honored by leaders of both parties at the end of the impeachment trial proceedings on Friday.

Both Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, and Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, delivered statements thanking Mr. Goodman for his service.

“In the weeks after the attack on January the 6th, the world learned about the incredible, incredible bravery of Officer Goodman on that fateful day,” Mr. Schumer said. “Here in this trial, we saw new video, powerful video, showing calmness under pressure, his courage in the line of duty, his foresight in the midst of chaos and his willingness to make himself a target of the mob’s rage so that others might reach safety.”

Mr. Goodman, who was promoted last month to be the Senate’s acting deputy sergeant-at-arms, had previously been recognized by other lawmakers, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who mentioned him specifically while introducing legislation to honor law enforcement officers with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor of Congress.

“If not for the quick thinking and bravery of Officer Eugene Goodman, in particular, people in this chamber may not have escaped that day unharmed,” Mr. McConnell said.

After his recognition on Friday, Mr. Goodman, who was in the Senate chamber, received a lengthy standing ovation from senators.

President Biden says he had not called Republican senators to press them to convict his predecessor.
Credit…Pete Marovich for The New York Times

President Biden said Friday that he is watching to see whether Republican senators will “stand up” to former President Donald J. Trump in his impeachment trial, but Mr. Biden said he is not lobbying them about how to vote.

“I’m just anxious to see whether — what my Republican friends do. Whether they stand up,” Mr. Biden said during a brief, impromptu walk on the North Lawn of the White House early Friday morning.

The president has largely avoided providing commentary on the trial, in which the House managers spent two days using graphic video to reconstruct the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol and Mr. Trump’s role in it. On Thursday, he said he thought the gripping video might have changed some minds.

Friday’s comments appeared to go slightly further toward pressuring Republican senators to convict the former president. But Mr. Biden was quick to say that he is not calling Republican senators directly to lobby them.

“No. No, I’m not,” he said.

Mr. Biden’s comments came as he prepared to meet later Friday morning with a bipartisan group of mayors and governors in the Oval Office to discuss efforts to pass the president’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. A news release from the White House said the president would make the case to the local leaders that passage of the legislation would “get more support to their communities and those on the front lines of the fight against Covid-19.”

The president is scheduled to meet privately with Janet Yellen, the secretary of the Treasury, for an update on the economic situation facing the country. In the early evening, Mr. Biden is expected to leave for Camp David, the presidential retreat in the nearby Maryland mountains. It will be his first weekend there as president.

“He went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him,” said Nikki Haley.
Credit…Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

Nikki Haley, the former United Nations ambassador in the Trump administration, criticized Donald J. Trump in an interview published by Politico on Friday, saying that she was “disgusted” by the former president’s conduct on Jan. 6 and believed he had “lost any sort of political viability.”

Ms. Haley, who is widely believed to be considering a run for president in 2024, also said that she does not think the former president will run himself. “I don’t think he’s going to be in the picture,” she told Politico, adding, “I don’t think he can. He’s fallen so far.”

Ms. Haley’s comments may cost her some support among Mr. Trump’s base, a constituency that will be important to any future Republican nominee and one that she had worked hard to avoid offending since leaving his administration in 2018.

But the Capitol riot last month and Mr. Trump’s role in inciting it appears to have been Ms. Haley’s breaking point. Her tone changed markedly between interviews with Politico in December and January. Initially, she refused to acknowledge that the former president was doing anything reckless by refusing to concede election defeat. She said that because he genuinely believed his defeat was rigged, his actions since November were not irresponsible.

She wrongly predicted that he would “go on his way” once his legal options were exhausted.

In the series of interviews, Ms. Haley then went on to say “he let us down.”

“He went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him,” she said.

Ms. Haley’s remarks suggest that she has made a political bet that many other Republicans who have eyes on the White House have not: That Mr. Trump’s hold over the Republican base will loosen and he will not be the kingmaker many predict.

In contrast, Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri has ignored calls to apologize for advancing Mr. Trump’s voter fraud claims. Former Vice President Mike Pence has said nothing publicly since being forced to flee the Senate chamber on Jan. 6 as pro-Trump rioters chanted, “Hang Mike Pence.”

Officers have described the combat on Jan. 6 as “medieval” because of brute hand-to-hand combat and the use of blunt objects as weapons.
Credit…Kenny Holston for The New York Times

One officer lost the tip of his right index finger. Others were smashed in the head with baseball bats, flag poles and pipes. Another lost consciousness after rioters used a metal barrier to push her into stairs as they tried to reach the Capitol steps during the assault on Jan. 6.

“We don’t have to hurt you — why are you standing in our way?” one rioter told the officer as he helped her to her feet, according to court documents. She tried to regroup, but blacked out while making an arrest hours later. Doctors determined she had a concussion.

A little more than a month after the Capitol siege, a fuller picture of the injuries sustained by the police has emerged from court documents, footage revealed at former President Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial, accounts provided by officers and interviews with law enforcement officials and experts.

The Capitol assault resulted in one of the worst days of injuries for law enforcement in the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. At least 138 officers — 73 from the Capitol Police and 65 from the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington — were injured, the departments have said. The injuries ranged from bruises and lacerations to more serious damage such as concussions, rib fractures, burns and even a mild heart attack.

One Capitol Police officer, Brian D. Sicknick, was killed, and investigators are increasingly focused on whether chemical irritants were a factor in his death, according to a senior law enforcement official. The Capitol Police said in a statement that Officer Sicknick died from injuries sustained “while physically engaging with protesters.” Two officers involved in the response have died by suicide, the local police have said.

The number of those injured does not account for the dozens, if not hundreds, of officers who law enforcement officials estimate will suffer in years to come with post-traumatic stress disorder and the dozens who most likely contracted the coronavirus from unmasked Trump supporters who overran the Capitol, the experts and officials said.

“If you’re a cop and get into a fight, it may last five minutes, but these guys were in battle for four to five hours,” said Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a nonprofit that advises departments across the country on management and tactics. “You would be hard-pressed to find another day in history like this, when the police encountered this level of violence in one event.”

The horror of the siege — which officers have described as “medieval” because of brute hand-to-hand combat and the use of blunt objects as weapons — received renewed attention this week at Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial. House managers repeatedly raised the injuries as they revealed new video and audio to argue that Mr. Trump incited his supporters to overrun the Capitol while lawmakers were certifying his election loss.

At the trial on Thursday, Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island, an impeachment manager, listed a litany of injuries that laid out the effects of the siege on officers: concussions, irritated lungs and injuries caused by repeated blows from bats, poles and clubs.

“Capitol Police officers also sustained injuries that will be with them for the rest of their lives,” he said.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Katie Benner and Shaila Dewan contributed reporting.

A camp for asylum seekers in Matamoros, Mexico. Many at the camp have waited for an immigration court hearing across the bridge in Brownsville, Texas.
Credit…John Moore/Getty Images

The Biden administration is preparing to resume processing migrants who were forced back to Mexico and have been stuck in limbo under a Trump-era policy that blocked access to the United States, administration officials said Thursday evening.

Under the policy, the Trump administration returned tens of thousands of asylum-seeking migrants to Mexico to wait for their day in immigration court. Many of them have been in squalid tent camps for months, or longer. Moreover, immigration hearings were suspended as the coronavirus pandemic closed immigration courts in the United States, leaving many migrants vulnerable to muggings, kidnappings, sexual assault and other crimes.

President Biden had already directed the government to suspend returning migrants to Mexico under the program, more commonly known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy. On Feb. 19, the administration will begin bringing some of those migrants to the United States, with a focus on those who have waited in Mexico the longest, administration officials said.

Migrants “with particular vulnerabilities” will be a priority, one official said, adding that the administration would work with international organizations to help provide coronavirus testing. Migrants will not be allowed into the United States unless they have a confirmed negative test, officials said.

The Biden administration has repeatedly sought to discourage migrants from rushing to the southwestern border as Mr. Biden looks to make good on his pledge to roll back Donald J. Trump’s immigration policies. Still, Mr. Biden will keep in place a pandemic emergency rule that has empowered Border Patrol agents to rapidly turn away border crossers without providing the opportunity to ask for protection.

“Especially at the border, however, where capacity constraints remain serious, changes will take time,” Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the homeland security secretary, said in a statement. “Individuals who are not eligible under this initial phase should wait for further instructions and not travel to the border.”

Instead, the migrants who were processed under the Remain in Mexico program will be able to register online for their case to resume and will be told when and where to arrive at the border, officials said.

The asylum seekers who had been stuck in Mexico will not enter long-term detention, but will be processed through initiatives that track migrants after they are released into the United States, in some cases with ankle monitors, to ensure they appear at immigration court. During his campaign, Mr. Biden said that he would rely on such initiatives and cut funding used to jail migrants.

The officials said they expected to be able to eventually process 300 migrants a day, but it was unclear when the new system would start.

Many of the more than 60,000 migrants who had been sent back to Mexico under the program had returned to their home countries. But more than 25,000 migrants still have active asylum cases in the program, administration officials said.

Founder of Project Veritas James O'Keefe during a conference in 2020.
Credit…Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Twitter on Thursday said it had suspended the official account of Project Veritas, a conservative activist group, because the account posted private information.

The social media company also temporarily locked the account of James O’Keefe, the founder of Project Veritas.

Mr. O’Keefe will have to delete a tweet that violated Twitter’s rules before he can tweet again, Twitter said.

The tweets that Twitter said violated its policies against posting private information showed a Project Veritas staffer questioning a Facebook executive, Guy Rosen, outside his home.

“The account, @Project_Veritas, was permanently suspended for repeated violations of Twitter’s private information policy,” a Twitter spokeswoman said.

Mr. O’Keefe said Project Veritas had appealed Twitter’s decision.

“It would be unconscionable for me to take down our reporting where it didn’t violate anyone’s privacy rights,” he said.





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