Takeaways From Day 4 of Trump’s Impeachment Trial

Former President Donald J. Trump’s lawyers opened and closed their impeachment defense in a span of three hours on Friday, drawing praise from Republicans. Senators then submitted questions to each side. They are expected to vote to convict or acquit Mr. Trump on Saturday.

Here are takeaways from the fourth day of Mr. Trump’s trial.

The Trump defense sounded a lot like Trump himself.

Republican senators praised Mr. Trump’s three-hour defense, during which his lawyers accused House impeachment managers of taking the former president’s words and actions out of context, complained about what they saw as the news media’s unfair coverage of their client and presented many of Mr. Trump’s own talking points and narratives.

It was almost as though Mr. Trump was delivering his defense himself. And lawmakers praised it as a huge improvement over the rambling and disorganized argument delivered on Tuesday by one of his lawyers, Bruce L. Castor Jr., a performance that was widely panned and infuriated Mr. Trump.

The defense lawyers said the House managers manipulated their client’s words and pointed to Mr. Trump’s call to his supporters in his Jan. 6 speech to “peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”

Mr. Castor said, “The House managers took from that: ‘Go down to the Capitol and riot.’”

But that is not what Mr. Trump was asking his supporters to do, Mr. Castor said: “He wanted them to support primary challenges.”

The former president stood for law and order, Michael T. van der Veen, one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, said, picking up a phrase the president has used repeatedly.

The Trump Impeachment ›

What You Need to Know

    • A trial is being held to decide whether former President Donald J. Trump is guilty of inciting a deadly mob of his supporters when they stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, violently breaching security measures and sending lawmakers into hiding as they met to certify President Biden’s victory.
    • The House voted 232 to 197 to approve a single article of impeachment, accusing Mr. Trump of “inciting violence against the government of the United States” in his quest to overturn the election results. Ten Republicans joined the Democrats in voting to impeach him.
    • To convict Mr. Trump, the Senate would need a two-thirds majority to be in agreement. This means at least 17 Republican senators would have to vote with Senate Democrats to convict.
    • A conviction seems unlikely. Last month, only five Republicans in the Senate sided with Democrats in beating back a Republican attempt to dismiss the charges because Mr. Trump is no longer in office. Only 27 senators say they are undecided about whether to convict Mr. Trump.
    • If the Senate convicts Mr. Trump, finding him guilty of “inciting violence against the government of the United States,” senators could then vote on whether to bar him from holding future office. That vote would only require a simple majority, and if it came down to party lines, Democrats would prevail with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tiebreaking vote.
    • If the Senate does not convict Mr. Trump, the former president could be eligible to run for public office once again. Public opinion surveys show that he remains by far the most popular national figure in the Republican Party.

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