Here is a fact check of some of the things van der Veen said on Saturday, plus a fact check of a false claim made by a Democratic impeachment manager during Saturday’s closing arguments.
Van der Veen claimed that the insurrection at the Capitol was “preplanned and premeditated by fringe left and right groups.”
Trump and incitement
Van der Veen said that the House impeachment managers had not shown “a single example of Mr. Trump urging anyone to engage in violence of any kind.”
He then added: “At no point did you hear anything that could ever possibly be construed as Mr. Trump encouraging or sanctioning an insurrection. Senators, you did not hear those tapes because they do not exist.”
It’s possible that some of the people who are facing charges are simply trying to shift blame to Trump after the fact. But it is abundantly clear Trump’s words were understood by some listeners as a presidential endorsement of an uprising.
Trump’s words prior to January 6
Van der Veen said: “Mr. Trump did not spend the weeks prior to January 6 inciting violence. He spent those weeks pursuing his election challenge through the court system and other legal procedures, exactly as the Constitution and the Congress prescribed.”
Biden, Harris and condemnations of violence
Van der Veen echoed false attacks Trump himself had made in the past, claiming President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris “repeatedly refused to condemn” acts of violence during riots last year.
Facts First: This is false. Both Biden and Harris condemned riots and violence last year on multiple occasions. They expressed support for peaceful protest.
The timing of the trial
Van der Veen claimed that it was Democrats’ fault that there were constitutional questions about holding an impeachment trial for a president who is no longer in office. He said, “They sat on the article. They could have tried the President while he was still in office if they really believed he was an imminent threat. They didn’t.”
Trump’s past comments about violence
“Donald Trump knew the people he was inciting. Leading up to January the 6th, he saw the violence they were capable of. He had a pattern and practice of praising and encouraging supporters of violence — never condemning it,” Dean said.
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