After President Donald Trump was acquitted in the impeachment trial, a triumphant Michael van der Veen reportedly joked with one of his colleagues that “We’re going to Disney World.” The attorney’s quip, punctuated by a fist bump, was a callback to the traditional phrase uttered by many Super Bowl MVPs in post-game celebrations.
In a post-impeachment-vote interview that got much more serious, however, he went off on the corporate news media for being “bloodthirsty for ratings” in the coverage of the proceedings.
Although the final score may not have been a blowout as compared to the Chiefs-Buccaneers matchup, the U.S. Senate on Saturday, Feb. 13, found the ex-president not guilty of incitement to insurrection by a vote of 57-43. Seven Republicans joined with Democrats in the failed attempt to convict, which would have required 67 votes.
Attorney van der Veen, who heads a Philadelphia criminal defense and personal injury law firm, along with the other lawyers on the team, argued that the Senate had no jurisdiction over a former federal official as well as underscoring the president’s free speech protections under the First Amendment. Team van der Veen also eviscerated claims by House Democrat impeachment managers with several video montages of Democrats spewing inflammatory rhetoric.
Here’s the moment Trump lawyer van der Veen fist bumped a fellow member of the legal team and said, “We’re going to Disney World!” https://t.co/zJkMy7Bv8q
— Christal Hayes (@Journo_Christal) February 13, 2021
Unfortunately, his defense of Trump came at price in the form of a “mostly peaceful’ protest. Radicals vandalized his Philadelphia-area home by smashing windows and spray-painting the word “traitor” on the driveway, prompting him to hire private security.
Demonstrators also showed up at his law office chanting “When van der Veen lies, what do you do? Convict. Convict.”
“My home was attacked. To answer your question, my entire family, my business, my law firm are under siege right now. I don’t really want to go into that, though,” he told Fox News.
In a somewhat contentious interview with CBS News anchor Lana Zak after the vote, however, van der Veen — who appears to be apolitical — was a lot less jovial than when he was joking with other reporters about visiting a theme park. He called out the anti-Trump, “political rhetoric” from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and slammed the impeachment process itself, particularly what he considers unconscionable misconduct by the Democrat impeachment managers from the U.S. House.
“What happened at the Capitol on January 6 is absolutely horrific. But what happened at the Capitol during this trial was not too far away from that. The prosecutors in this case doctored evidence…it was absolutely shocking,” Trump’s attorney said. “When we discovered it, and were able to expose it and put it out, I think it turned a lot of senators. The American people should not be putting up with this….”
Trump defense attorney Michael van der Veen speaks with @LanaZak after the Senate's acquittal vote: "What happened at the Capitol on January 6 is absolutely horrific. But what happened at the Capitol during this trial was not too far away from that."
Watch the full interview: pic.twitter.com/ndjBZzJgNZ
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 13, 2021
When the anchor appeared to be minimizing — as van der Veen perceived it — the manipulation of proof such as the selective editing of Trump speeches among other things, he unloaded on the divisive media.
“The media has to start telling the right story in this country. The media is trying to divide this country,” he said. “You are bloodthirsty for ratings…I can’t believe that you would ask me a question indicating that it’s all right to just doctor a’ little bit’ of evidence…
“Your coverage is so slanted; it’s got to stop…I’m tired of the biased media, on both sides, left and the right….the media wants to tell their narrative, rather than just telling it like it is…the media has to start living by the truth and not try to create a narrative.”
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