The performance of Donald Trump’s legal team on the first day of his second indictment trial sparked sharp criticism from Republican senators and other onlookers, many of whom were not made visible by the sometimes harassing and incoherent opening speeches.
Two members of the former president’s legal team, Bruce Castor and David Schoen, on Tuesday asked the senate to reject the trial for constitutional reasons. Castor’s performance was particularly waffle and out of focus.
Several Republican senators say they do not understand the lawyers’ arguments. Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy, who voted with Democrats to move the trial forward, said Trump’s team “did a terrible job” and was “disorganized”, “random” and “did everything just to talk about the issue”. .
Cassidy wasn’t the only Republican who wasn’t happy with Trump’s defense team.
Susan Collins, a Maine Republican senator, said Castor, Trump’s chief attorney, was “confused,” saying “he doesn’t seem to be making any arguments at all, which was an unusual approach.”
“The president’s lawyer just went on and on,” said Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican. “I saw a lot of lawyers and a lot of arguments, and it wasn’t one of the best I’ve seen.”
Texas Senator Ted Cruz, one of Trump’s most persuasive allies, said he did not think lawyers would “do the most efficient work,” while praising Maryland MP Jamie Raskin, who serves as the Democratic chief prosecutor, as “impressive”. .
Cornyn and Cruz continued to vote to reject the trial, along with 42 other Republican senators. Six Republicans, including Cassidy and Collins, voted with Democrats to move the trial forward.
Trump himself was reportedly dissatisfied with the presentation of the lawyers. Politico reported that, according to sources close to the former president, he became “increasingly frustrated” as he watched the day unfold. Other sources, including CBS and CNN, also said the president was disappointed.
On the opening day of the trial, Raskin gave an emotional speech reporting on his personal experiences with the Capitol attack, describing that his daughter and son-in-law are in one of the Capitol’s offices and hiding under a desk where they were sent what they thought. their final texts. Through tears, Raskin said, “This cannot be America’s future.”
Castor opened his winding performance by praising the senators as “patriots” and mentioning that he was still lost in the Capitol. The speech contained mysterious lines like “Nebraska, you’ll hear, it’s quite a judicial mindset”. He spoke for 20 minutes before reporting on the January 6 uprising and did not directly address the President’s actions that day, nor did he argue against the constitutionality of the prosecution process.
Castor concluded his opening remarks by uncertainly daring the Justice Department to arrest Trump if the allegations at the heart of the indictment trial were true.
“A serious crime is a crime, and a misdemeanor is a misdemeanor,” Castor said. – Once you’re out of office, you’re going to arrest … The Department of Justice knows what to do with people like that. And so far I have not seen any such activity.
According to Maggie Haberman of the New York Times, Trump’s adviser defended the presentation as a “deliberative strategy” aimed at diverting attention from Raskin’s emotional presentation – although critics have pointed out that the master strategist does not have to make a background statement about his strategy. .
It was a lecture that embarrassed many observers, and some journalists compared the lawyer to a college student who hadn’t read before class and joked that Castor would be fired by tweeting if Trump still had access to his Twitter account. .
Alan Dershowitz, who was a member of Donald Trump’s defense team during his first indictment trial, seemed less impressed with Castor’s raging performance.
“There is no argument. I have no idea what he’s doing, ”Dershowitz told the Newsmax conservative outlet. – I have no idea why he says what he says.
The Associated Press contributed to the report