Donald Trump's impeachment lawyers to say Capitol riots not 'directly connected' to the former president

From left, David Schoen, Bruce Castor and Michael van der Veen, lawyers for former President Donald Trump, arrive at the Capitol on the third day of the second impeachment trial of Trump in the Senate, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
From left, David Schoen, Bruce Castor and Michael van der Veen, lawyers for former President Donald Trump. Credit: AP

Bruce Castor could be forgiven some early morning nerves - he has a very big day ahead, defending the former president of the United States against one of the most serious charges on the statue books.It didn’t start all that well. His brief early foray into the senate hearing was widely condemned as rambling by Republicans and Democrats alike.

Donald Trump, the man who is paying, or at least meant to be paying his bill, was apparently so furious at the performance he was screaming at the television - his fury level 8 out of 10.

Impeachment managers walk through the Rotunda to the Senate on the second impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump Credit: Win McNamee/Pool via AP

He has a big act to follow. The past days of prosecution evidence have been a methodical, detailed narrative timeline, plus hours of shocking footage.It is likely Mr Castor and colleague David Schoen will seek to dismiss the evidence that has gone before. They will say it fails to connect the dots, that it doesn’t directly connect the former president with the actions of the protestors.

They will probably argue there is no direct link between what he said and what they did, despite the fact many of those now detained have said they were acting on his orders.Standby too for lots of accusations of hypocrisy and unfair play from the prosecution. I would put money on there being claims about the First Amendment and right to free speech. It will be interesting to hear how much they make of the stolen election claims. That belief clearly fuelled the president’s fury in the January 6 speech, but there was no mention of it in the first draft of his defence.

Footage from January 6 was shown in the Senate as part of the trial Credit: Senate Television via AP

The defence team say they won’t take long, certainly not the allocated eight hours, and many will question what defence they can possibly offer.The reality is the only thing they risk losing is face and pride because whatever happens they aren’t going to lose the case. Seventeen Republican senators will not defy Donald Trump however they feel about January 6.Minds are made up here, and all the talk will make no difference at all. The biggest case of their careers is a guaranteed win.