Trump lawyers think citing banned fringe blog helps his impeachment case

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The lawyers used the blog to falsely claim anti-Trump forces were part of the insurrection.

A brief filed on Monday by Donald Trump's lawyers wrongly suggested that the insurrectionists who waged the violent and deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 were not Trump supporters.

The 78-page brief cites an article from the far right-wing website Gateway Pundit, founded by Jim Hoft, who is now permanently banned from Twitter for publishing a barrage of election lies.

Trump's lawyers wrote in the brief, "The real truth is that people who criminally breached the Capitol did so of their own accord and for their own reasons, and they are being criminally prosecuted." The footnote to that sentence links to a Gateway Pundit blog post that claims a Black Lives Matter supporter was part of the insurrection, part of a right-wing effort to blame the insurrection on antifa and other anti-Trump forces — a claim that the FBI has said is false.

Many of those who participated in the riot have said they stormed the Capitol to block certification of the election of President Joe Biden specifically because Trump asked them to.

According to NBC reporter Scott MacFarlane, lawyers for Matthew Miller, a Maryland man charged with four felonies, including entering the Capitol grounds with a dangerous weapon, said Monday that Miller was "merely following the directions of then-President Trump, the country's chief law enforcement officer."

Other insurrectionists made similar comments, including a man heard screaming, "We were invited here. We were invited by the president of the United States" in a video of the attack posted to Parler.

The New York Times reported on a man seen in a livestream of the riot saying, "Our president wants us here. We wait and take orders from our president."

Although rioters say they attacked the Capitol on Trump's orders, his lawyers say Trump did not encourage violence, despite the fact that he said many times at a rally right before the insurrection began that those in attendance must "fight like hell" to prevent a stolen election.

"Of the over 10,000 words spoken, Mr. Trump used the word 'fight' a little more than a handful of times and each time in the figurative sense that has long been accepted in public discourse when urging people to stand and use their voices to be heard on matters important to them; it was not and could not be construed to encourage acts of violence," Trump's lawyers write.

They go on to attack the process of impeachment altogether, titling the first section of their argument, "The Senate Lacks The Constitutional Jurisdiction To Conduct An Impeachment Trial Of A Former President."

Even conservative legal scholars say that argument "defies logic."

Trump's second impeachment trial is set to begin on Tuesday.

The first day of the trial will be spent debating the constitutionality of the trial, with the Senate once again voting on whether to stop the trial before it begins, CNN reported. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) attempted that same move on Jan. 16; it failed.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.