Impeachment Managers Brace For ‘Campaign Of Distraction’ As Trump Defense Begins

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: Pro-Trump supporters storm the US Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Trump supporters gathered in the nation's capital today to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Trump supporters gathered in the nation's capital today to ... WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Trump supporters gathered in the nation's capital today to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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February 12, 2021 10:01 a.m.

The impeachment defense attorneys “will do everything and anything they can do to distract from President Trump’s actual behavior before the riot, during the riot, and in the immediate aftermath of that riot,” an aide to the House impeachment managers warned reporters Friday.

The aide added that it was the managers’ belief that senators who are serving as jurors in the impeachment trial are required to ignore any questions around whether the trial itself is Constitutional, because that issue was already resolved by a Senate vote earlier this week.

“By their oath that they have sworn, they cannot consider jurisdiction issues,” one aide to impeachment managers said of the issue.

That doesn’t appear to be stopping them: Multiple Republican senators said on Thursday after the House managers’ presentation that, regardless of what they had heard, they believed it would be impossible to convict a former official via impeachment.

That serves as a very convenient way of avoiding the actual problem of President Trump’s conduct in inciting the riot and refusing to lift a finger to stop it once it began.

“There will be very little substantive defense because there is no defense,” one of two aides said. “We left them with questions to answer that I’m sure every juror, regardless of party, wants answered.”

House impeachment managers closed their presentation on Thursday by describing the harm inflicted on the country by the events of Jan. 6, by pointing out that President Trump has shown no remorse for what happened, and by arguing that he knew that his campaign to overturn the results of the 2020 election would lead to violence.

“It was like a medieval battle scene devastating our police, our law enforcement,” one aide said. “It came very, very close to being much, much worse: the next three leaders in succession had their lives under threat.”

Aides declined to say whether they expected the trial to involve witnesses or the submission of additional evidence into the record.

When asked about multiple Republican senators leaving the floor of the chamber during proceedings on Thursday, one aide suggested that it characterized the GOP’s strategy in the matter.

“It’s a testimony to the power of the overwhelming evidence that the managers have brought to bear in this case that one of the only ways not to convict is to pretend that you didn’t hear it,” the aide said.

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