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DAY 5: Trump Impeachment Trial Stretches into the Weekend

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Carson City Airport, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Carson City, Nev. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Carson City Airport, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Carson City, Nev. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON - The House impeachment managers have finished presenting their case against former President Donald J. Trump, and now it's his defense team's turn. They plan to argue his speech on January 6th is protected by the First Amendment and that if the Senate charges him, other lawmakers are guilty, too.

BELOW:  Watch the Next Phase of the Impeachment Trial

On Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told CBN News he doesn't believe Trump's speech incited the Capitol riot. 

"If we're going to judge political speech on the actual words, let's use one standard and I think Democrats if they look in the mirror, they've been guilty of much more than they've been accusing Trump of," Paul said. 

"I can give you Chuck Schumer's words when he stood in front of a mob in front of the Supreme Court and he said, 'Kavanaugh and Gorsuch, you have unleashed the whirlwind and you will pay the price'," he recalled.

House impeachment managers spent two days making their case that President Trump's violent rhetoric led to the attack.

"Folks, this was not a hidden crime. The president told them to be there, and so they actually believed they would face no punishment," argued Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), one of the impeachment managers.

The prosecution argued once the attack started, Trump did nothing to stop it. House Impeachment Manager Rep. Jamie Raskin said, "Why did President Trump not tell his supporters to stop the attack on the Capitol as soon as he learned of it? Why did President Trump do nothing to stop the attack for at least two hours after the attack began?"

READ  Legal Scholar: Trump Trial Exposes Double Standard on 'Irresponsible Political Rhetoric', Dems Used Exact Phrase Trump Used

And they say he showed no remorse. "People thought that what I said was totally appropriate," Trump said. 

GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy (LA) told reporters Thursday he wants the defense to address Trump's actions once the siege began. 

"The president was calling to try and get more senators to decertify the election. Now, presumably, since we were, at that point, being evacuated – and I think he was told that – there was some awareness of the events. And so, what I hope that defense does is explain that," Cassidy said.

He also wants them to address Trump's repeated claims the election was stolen. "So when the point was made, people felt as if they had no recourse because their vote was being stolen. Well, the president built that story. So how do you defend that, how do you describe that? Because, again, people will still be telling me that Dominion rigged the machines," he said. 

Even with GOP senators like Cassidy weighing a possible vote to convict, Paul believes the prosecution is nowhere close to convincing the 17 Republicans needed to bar Trump from ever seeking federal office again. 

"So there will be 44/45 people to acquit, it will be a largely partisan exercise, it will have destroyed any possible unifying concept that President Biden may have wished for but it was his own doing," he said. 

The defense is expected to only take one day to present their case, and the final vote on whether or not to convict could come as early as this weekend.  

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