Former president Donald Trump’s defense attorney David Schoen offered a hilarious but highly effective clip reel with nearly 10 minutes of Democrats using literal “fighting” words to counter the partisan allegations that Trump’s use of the phrase “fight like hell” incited the Jan. 6 uprising at the US Capitol.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Vice President Kamala Harris, formerly a California senator, both figured prominently into the compilations, sometimes interlacing the word repeatedly throughout the same speech.
Although the new context would make it seem as if they were paying tribute to political pugilance, Schoen’s point was that the rhetoric was ubiquitous—and entirely innocuous—in its original context.
“Every single one of you and every one of you,” Schoen said, addressing the senators and the House impeachment managers, respectively.
“That’s OK—you didn’t do anything wrong,” he continued. “It’s a word people use, but please stop the hypocrisy.”
It was long expected that the defense team would rely heavily on clips to use Democrats’ own words against them, but the sheer scope cast a picture of the party obsessed with political vengeance and retribution against the Republican party leader.
Additional clips highlighted a similar obsession with impeaching Trump, as well as montages of top Democrats dismissing and encouraging left-wing violence during last year’s months-long race riots in the lead-up to Nov. 3 election.
They also pointed out the hypocritical double-standard from Democrats—including House impeachment managers—in claiming that election challenges were indicative of a dangerous attack on democracy.
However, the centerpiece of Schoen’s media-heavy presentation was the package that showed top Democrats—including many of those present in the room who now sit in judgment of Trump—using the very same sort of phrasing that their House colleagues now claim was provocative language when used by their top adversary.
Earlier in his speech, Schoen reminded the senators of the legal standard for incitement as already established by the Supreme Court’s Brandenburg v. Ohio, a 1969 case involving the broadcast of a Ku Klux Klan rally.
“The Supreme Court ruled in Brandenburg that there’s a very clear standard for incitement—in short, to paraphrase, whether the speech was intended to provoke lawless action and was it likely to do so,” Schoen said.
House impeachment managers “know it doesn’t meet the standard for incitement, so they edited it down,” he continued. “We heard a lot this week about ‘fight like hell,’ but they cut off the video before they showed you the president’s optimistic, patriotic words that followed immediately after.”
Elsewhere in his presentation, Schoen accused the Democrats of intentionally altering their evidence to misrepresent Trump’s words, including several tweets that it modified before presenting them in the Senate trial.