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Takeaways from impeachment trial as defense rests, senators question prosecutors and Trump lawyers

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 2/13/2021 Jeanine Santucci, USA TODAY
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WASHINGTON — The legal team defending former President Donald Trump had their turn in the Senate impeachment trial on Friday, arguing that the House impeachment prosecutors were hypocritical in their case against Trump and that his speech is protected by the First Amendment.

a group of people in a room: In this image from video, Bruce Castor, an attorney for former President Donald Trump, finishes the defense presentation during the second impeachment trial of Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. (Senate Television via AP) © AP In this image from video, Bruce Castor, an attorney for former President Donald Trump, finishes the defense presentation during the second impeachment trial of Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. (Senate Television via AP)

The defense team used fewer than three of the eight hours allowed for the day and decided to forgo their second day of arguments. The trial then went into a question-and-answer session.

The defense pushed back on the arguments made the previous two days by the House managers, who tried to convince senators that the former president incited the deadly mob that stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6.

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Impeachment live updates: Senate looks to final arguments in after Q&A session wraps

Here are the takeaways from Trump's legal team's first day of arguments and the question-and-answer session:

Trump attorney uses Democrats' words to defend Trump

Lawyer Michael van der Veen played a montage of clips of Democrats from four years ago who objected to the electoral count of certain states such as Florida, Wisconsin and North Carolina, that affirmed Trump’s 2016 victory.

But while Democrats challenged the election results, Trump baselessly claimed the election was stolen from him by falsely claiming voter fraud.

After arguing that House prosecutors had manipulated Trump’s words by showing edited videos of him speaking, his defense attorneys simultaneously showed a montage of edited and spliced videos of dozens of Democratic lawmakers saying the word "fight."