In Fox appearance, Trump lawyer argued only his followers were ‘dedicated’ enough to turn violent

Donald Trump's impeachment lawyers on Friday centered their defense around several embarrassingly incoherent video montages of Democrats repeatedly using the word "fight" in speeches over the years. One 11-minute montage alone featured some 238 utterances of the word, none of which included a lick of context. Frankly, it should have been an embarrassing defense presentation. But once wasn't enough for the shoddy lawyering of Trump's defense team—they played three separate montages of the recycled clips aimed at absolving Trump of culpability for inciting the murderous mob at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

The flimsy idea was that Democrats repeatedly employing the word got Trump off the hook for telling his rally goers to “fight like hell” and then directing them to Capitol, where they proceeded to beat, bludgeon, and kill people. The one small hiccup in the logic was that none of the Democrats' followers ever ended up marching to the Capitol to attack the U.S. seat of government and murder people in the process. And in fact, Trump lawyer David Schoen helpfully made that exact point in a Fox News appearance just days before deploying that defense video, according to The Washington Post.

On Tuesday, Schoen and Fox host Sean Hannity were discussing that Democrats had been using the word “fight” for years when Schoen voluntarily drew a distinction in outcomes. 

“They’re using rhetoric that’s just as inflammatory, or more so,” he said of the Democrats. “The problem is, they don’t really have followers, you know, their dedicated followers and so — you know, when they give their speeches.”

Right, the Democrats' "problem" (i.e., their inability to actuate violence) was that they don't have "dedicated followers" (i.e., people who will haul off and commit murder on instruction).

Exactly. Schoen's characterization of Democrats' nonviolent followers as a "problem" is pretty stunning on its own. But even better, he completely undercut the insinuation of the video that Democrats use the word "fight" too, just like Trump did. 

Nope, not just like Trump did. Democrats didn't spend months predicting they would lose the election because it was "rigged" and assuring their followers that they both would be and had been disenfranchised. Democrats didn't spend years stoking the grievances of their followers, encouraging their violence, praising them for beating people up, and promising to pay for their defense if their violent acts landed them on the wrong side of the law. Democrats didn't encourage their followers to believe that their personal satisfaction and gratification superseded someone else's right to personal and physical safety. 

Nope. Trump and his GOP conspirators did that—which is why Trump’s supporters went off to murder people in plain sight on Jan. 6. And they succeeded, just not on the scale they had hoped. 

Three ‘very friendly’ Republican senators met with Trump’s defense lawyers

At the beginning of an impeachment trial, senators swear an oath to “do impartial justice.” Most Republican senators have made clear throughout both of Donald Trump’s impeachment trials that this was a lie—at best, a fig leaf they used to get out of answering questions about how they saw the evidence. Then there’s Lindsey Graham, Mike Lee, and Ted Cruz. Those three met with Trump’s defense lawyers Thursday evening to offer advice.

The “very friendly guys,” according to Trump lawyer David Schoen, were making sure Trump’s lawyers were “familiar with procedure.” Probable translation: Wanted to be sure these clowns didn’t screw this thing up too badly for even Republicans to ignore. Was that ethical, though? “Oh yeah, I think that's the practice of impeachment,” Schoen claimed. 

How badly do Graham, Lee, and Cruz think Trump’s lawyers are going to screw up their defense arguments? Alternatively, how worried are they that some Republicans were persuaded by the House impeachment managers’ case? All but six Republicans already voted against holding an impeachment trial at all on the obviously false grounds that it was unconstitutional, giving them an excuse to vote to acquit without engaging the substance of what Trump did at all. 

Sens. Roy Blunt and Marco Rubio are sticking with that claim, for instance. “My view is unchanged as to whether or not we have the authority to do this, and I’m certainly not bound by the fact that 56 people think we do,” Blunt said. “I get to cast my vote, and my view is that you can’t impeach a former president. And if the former president did things that were illegal, there is a process to go through for that.”

And Rubio: “The fundamental question for me, and I don’t know about for everybody else, is whether an impeachment trial is appropriate for someone who is no longer in office. I don’t believe that it is.”

Do Cruz, Lee, and Graham think Schoen and immediately notorious idiot Bruce Castor need their advice to get through what’s forecast to be a very abbreviated day of arguments? Or are they still trying that pathetically hard to suck up to Trump? They do seem to have gotten the attention of his inner circle, with sleazeball adviser Jason Miller repeatedly mentioning their involvement on Newsmax, making absolutely clear the senators were there to build the case for Trump. “It was a real honor to have those senators come in and give us some additional ideas,” he said.

Republican senators have that “not constitutional” sham to hide behind, and they are energetically doing so. They have state parties ready to attack them the minute they step out of line. Donald Trump has his own defense lawyers, albeit not exactly the prime talent of conservative law. And as of Thursday, he officially has three of the people sworn to do impartial justice actively strategizing to help him get off.

The House impeachment managers, on the other hand, had the truth of what happened, and it was too powerful for Republicans to fully ignore. But that is unlikely to be enough.

After exhibiting signs of integrity, Trump’s impeachment lawyers simply had to go

Donald Trump repels integrity of any kind. Anyone who exhibits even a smidge of it must be immediately stricken from his presence, which is exactly what happened this weekend with Trump's top impeachment lawyers.

Trump has been insisting that his impeachment defense center around the big lie that he won the election and it was stolen from him. Karl "Butch" Bowers Jr. and four other lawyers on Trump's defense team abruptly quit over the weekend because they refused to mount his defense on a gigantic lie, according to The Washington Post. Instead, they had pushed to make the case that trying a president who was no longer in office was unconstitutional, reinforcing an argument that most mainstream legal scholars reject but that was nonetheless embraced last week by the 45 GOP senators who voted against proceeding with the trial.

But the situation was clearly untenable. Trump simply can't function in a world where the reality is that he's a big loser. So any legal team that insists on a reality-based approach that instead focuses on constitutional arguments is automatically disqualified. Trump repels integrity. Always. 

"The former president repeatedly said he wanted to litigate the voter fraud allegations and the 2020 race — and was seeking a more public defense of his actions. Bowers told Trump he couldn’t mount the defense that Trump wanted," writes the Post.

That left Trump—who had struggled for weeks to find lawyers willing to defend him—without a defense team just over a week before his impeachment trial is set to begin on Feb. 9.

On Sunday evening, Trump's office announced two new lawyers as his defense team: Atlanta-based trial attorney David Schoen and Bruce Castor Jr., a former district attorney in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Schoen recently represented Trump bestie Roger Stone as he appealed his conviction for lying and obstructing a congressional investigation into 2016 election interference. The Post reports that Schoen was also in talks to represent convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who was facing sex trafficking charges just before his death inside a jail cell in 2019, so that gives us an idea of Schoen's typical clientele. It only makes sense that he would take on Trump, who has lived his life palling around with people like Stone and Epstein. Castor seems to be of a piece too. NBC reports that in 2005 Castor declined to pursue charges against Bill Cosby for a sexual encounter in 2004 that ultimately became the basis for Cosby's 2018 sexual assault conviction when a different prosecutor tried the case.

Only the best from Trump, who is clearly cooking up yet another lesson in depravity for America. 

Meanwhile, House Democrats have been working "round-the-clock" on an impeachment presentation designed to provide a gripping presentation of how Trump’s words and actions directly incited the Jan. 6 mob to action at the Capitol.