Trump’s impeachment-defense attorney answers critics blasting rocky first-day performance

Former President Donald Trump was reportedly “furious” and “beyond angry” over his defense team’s opening performance Tuesday at his Senate impeachment trial, according to two sources who spoke with Fox News.

Attorney Bruce Castor presented the opening argument for Trump and was widely criticized, both in the media (which is to be expected) and online, for an unprepared and ineffective effort, and the sources said the attorney drew the former president’s ire as he watched proceedings from Mar-a-Lago.

At one point, Castor praised the House impeachment managers for a job “well done” in their opening argument. He also handed the media an instant headline: “Trump never conceded he lost, but his impeachment lawyer did.”

“The American people just spoke and they just changed administrations,” Castor said during his opening argument, adding that the voting public is smart enough to “pick a new administration if they don’t like the old one, and they just did.”

According to The Wall Street Journal, Castor said he didn’t plan to speak on Tuesday but changed his mind after Democrats went further than he anticipated in laying out their case against Trump — the Journal reported that Castor expected the first day to be more narrowly focused on whether the Senate trial was constitutional.

He was asked why he praised House Democrats’ opening effort while speaking with the media later.

“I didn’t mean to say that the House case was more effective,” Castor said, according to the Journal. “I thought that their presentation was more effective than I anticipated only insofar as they included things that were outside of the question” of constitutionality. The attorney said that move “good strategic thinking on their part.”

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., moved to side with Democrats after opening arguments were presented, the WSJ noted.

“Anyone who listened to President Trump’s legal team saw they were unfocused, they attempted to avoid the issue. And they talked about everything but the issue at hand,” Cassidy said.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas., was also critical of Castor: “I thought the President’s lawyer, the first lawyer, just rambled on and on and on and didn’t really address the constitutional argument.”

Trump defense attorney David Schoen appeared on Fox News’ ‘Hannity‘ to discuss the opening day and said Castor hadn’t planned to begin his arguments Tuesday, adding that Castor’s law firm “seem to be very capable people.”

“There’s a lot to say,” the attorney added. “And I know they feel very strongly about fighting against what they’re seeing.

(Source: Fox News)

Schoen moved to counter a dramatic video compilation Democrats showed Tuesday capturing scenes from the rally Trump spoke at on Jan.6 and the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol.

“I think this is a very, very, very painful and wrong process for the country,” Schoen said of the impeachment effort. “As you said earlier in your show, it’s very easy to stand up and show spliced and manufactured films.”

“Literally, you know, the Democrats, the House managers probably hired a large movie company and a large law firm to put together this thing,” he continued. “It’s a matter of tricking the American people to play this — as if the rioting was going on in real time with the speech. What’s the purpose of that? Why do we want to trick the American people?”

Schoen said the “professionally made” footage had “great entertainment value… but that’s not going to advance the cause — any cause of good in the country.”

As for the constitutionality of the trial, the attorney said, “Nobody thinks of using the impeachment process for anything other than removing a civil official from office.

“We have courts,” Schoen stressed. “If you want to have an investigation, if you want to prosecute someone, or something like that, we have the courts for that. That’s not what impeachment is for.”

Host Sean Hannity spoke of how it’s now widely accepted that the Capitol attack was planned ahead of the “Stop the Steal” rally, asking how Democrats can argue Trump’s words incited the crowd.

“Even taking the position that that speech incited an insurrection is as dangerous as I can imagine in the free speech area,” Schoen countered. “It would absolutely chill passionate political speech.”

He would later express concern that authorities may “back off” on the investigation of the attack being preplanned because “so many people want to tie it to Donald Trump.”

Schoen called the impeachment a “hoax,” and said, “There is nothing they showed today that in any way ties it to Donald Trump. It’s just a silly argument. It’s not tied to Donald Trump or his speech whatsoever.”

Tom Tillison

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