WASHINGTON, DC (NEXSTAR) — Former President Donald Trump’s defense team made their case Friday for his acquittal.
Ahead of the official vote, many Republicans said they’re ready to deliver that verdict.
“The article of impeachment now before the Senate is an unjust and blatantly unconstitutional act of political vengeance,” said Michael van der Veen, one of Trump’s attorneys, to open their arguments.
The former president’s team began their defense with the speech Democrats claim makes Trump guilty.
“If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not gonna have a country any more,” Trump said on Jan. 6 before the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol.
van der Veen said these words did not call for violence.
“Nothing in the text could ever be construed as encouraging, condoning or enticing unlawful activity of any kind,” he said.
That’s why Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-MS, said she’s ready to vote to acquit.
“The words of the president just did not meet the threshold of incitement,” Hyde-Smith said. “As long as this is the evidence I have in front of me, I would vote to do that.”
Trump’s attorneys also argued the trial violates the Constitution, and Sen. Roger Wicker, R-MS, said Democrats haven’t proved otherwise.
“So does that mean you’re ready to vote to acquit?,” asked Washington Correspondent Jessi Turnure.
“Well, yes,” Wicker said. “There’s nothing that has changed my mind from the two times now that I have voted we don’t have jurisdiction here.”
But the House impeachment managers warned senators an attack could happen again if they don’t vote to convict Trump.
“The case is even more powerful,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-CT.
Blumenthal said Trump still hasn’t shown remorse for his actions leading up to the insurrection.
“Inviting and then inciting the mob and then failing his oath of office to protect the Capitol and everybody in it,” Blumenthal said.
Democrats argued an acquittal may encourage future presidents to follow in Trump’s footsteps.