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Trump impeachment trial: Defense team begins arguments

Photo courtesy of Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

The House impeached Trump last month for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Posted: Feb 12, 2021 8:45 AM
Updated: Feb 12, 2021 4:50 PM

NBC News- Former President Donald Trump's defense team will begin a full day of arguments Friday in his Senate impeachment trial after House Democrats wrapped up two days of presentations that included harrowing footage of last month's Capitol riot.

Trump's lawyers are arguing that an impeachment trial of a former president is unconstitutional — a point legal experts dispute. They also say the former president's speech at a rally that preceded the violence at the Capitol, in which he riled up the crowd with repeated false claims of election fraud, is protected by the First Amendment.

Democratic House impeachment managers made the case Thursday that the mob of Trump supporters who ransacked the Capitol believed they were doing so at his direction. The managers methodically documented how rioters echoed the exact words of Trump while they stormed the building, and how, once inside, many of them said they were acting at his behest.

Managers went on to play a series of clips of times Trump explicitly called on his supporters to commit violent acts, or expressed support for violent groups, which they said showed a "pattern and practice of inciting violence."

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