Trust me, Donald Trump wasn’t angry at my speech! ‘Rambling’ impeachment lawyer Bruce Castor claims his client wasn’t upset at his performance (so it’s lucky he can’t look on Twitter)
- Donald Trump’s defense attorney Bruce Castor said Wednesday that the former president is ‘far from’ furious with his speech Tuesday, which was highly criticized by Republicans and Twitter
- He added that Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows, an ally of the ex-president, said that ‘everything is going fine’ in the impeachment trial and he should ‘continue doing what you’re doing’
- Donald Trump’s defense attorney Bruce Castor is facing a slew of backlash from Republican senators – and Twitter – for his ‘rambling’ speech
- Critics claim the speech was devoid of any coherent legal argument against the constitutionality of moving forward with the impeachment trial
- Twitter immediately started comparing Castor to bad fictional lawyers, including ‘My Cousin Vinny’ and an attorney from The Simpsons
- ‘I thought the President’s lawyer – the first lawyer just rambled on and on and on and didn’t really address the constitutional argument,’ Senator John Cornyn said
- He added: ‘I’ve seen a lot of lawyers and a lot of arguments and that was not one of the finest I’ve seen’
- Six Republicans voted with the 50 Democrats that going forward with the second impeachment trial against Donald Trump is constitutional
Donald Trump’s defense attorney Bruce Castor claimed Wednesday that the ex-president hasn’t complained about his performance, saying ‘far from it,’ despite Republican senators lining up to mock it.
‘Only one person’s opinion matters and that is what I am going by,’ Castor told reporters before the second day of impeachment proceedings kicked off on Wednesday afternoon.
Reports emerged shortly after the vote Tuesday indicating Trump was ‘beyond angry’ and ‘furious’ with Castor’s defense argument on the Senate floor Tuesday.
Castor told Fox News: ‘You need to check those sources because that has not been communicated to me by the president or anybody associated with the president. Including Mark Meadows, who specifically came to the Capitol yesterday to tell me don’t read news coverage.’
The president’s approval, Castor said, would influence his decision not to shake up any legal strategy going forward.
The former district attorney for Montgomery County, Pennsylvania told Fox that Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff, told him ‘everything is going fine,’ and he should ‘continue doing what you’re doing.’
Castor said he did not initially plan to speak at all during the pre-trial motion on the constitutionality of the proceedings Tuesday as they moved to vote on whether the Senate would move forward with trying the former president.
‘Yesterday was a pretrial motion,’ the former president’s attorney explained. ‘It was supposed to be, according to the Senate resolution, a legal discussion on the issue of jurisdiction. We took the Senate resolution literally and were prepared to argue jurisdiction.’
Republicans lashed out with criticism of Castor decrying his hour-long ‘rambling’ speech devoid of any coherent argument against the constitutionality of the trial.
‘I thought the President’s lawyer – the first lawyer just rambled on and on and on and didn’t really address the constitutional argument,’ Texas Senator John Cornyn told reporters outside the chamber following the vote Tuesday evening.
‘Finally, the second lawyer got around to it and, I thought, did an effective job,’ he continued, referencing David Schoen. ‘But I’ve seen a lot of lawyers and a lot of arguments and that was not one of the finest I’ve seen.’
Donald Trump’s defense attorney Bruce Castor (pictured left with fellow lawyer David Schoen on right), said Wednesday that the former president is ‘far from’ furious with his speech Tuesday, which was highly criticized by Republicans and Twitter
Castor told Fox News on Wednesday that Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows (pictured), an ally of the ex-president, said that ‘everything is going fine’ in the impeachment trial and he should ‘continue doing what you’re doing’
Castor was until now best known for his decision – while serving as Montgomery County, Pennsylvania’s district attorney – not to prosecute Bill Cosby on rape charges. That decision was overturned by his successor and Cosby, 83, is now serving three to 10 years for sexual assault.
Trump tapped the private practice attorney last month after parting with his previous legal team.
The Twittersphere also exploded with memes and harsh words for Castor, comparing him to fictional bad lawyers.
‘My Cousin Vinny’ started trending on Twitter as Castor was ridiculed for his performance and compared unflatteringly to the Texas lawyer who forgot to switch off the kitten filter when appearing remotely in court this week.
Some Twitter users said Trump would be better off with the ‘Three Stooges’ representing him or his ex-attorney Rudy Giuliani, who has also faced wide criticism for his defense of the former president.
Castor admitted both during his remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday and when speaking to Fox Wednesday, that the House Democratic managers did a good job in arguing it is constitutional to hold an impeachment trial for a former president.
‘The House Managers deviated substantially from the mandate and made a very strong, and direct emotional appeal,’ he told Fox.
‘I have had 35 years of reading the expressions of people’s faces as jurors, and I could see that it had hit home,’ he continued, specifically referring to lead manager Jamie Raskin’s opening remarks.
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas said the whole trial is a ‘waste of time’ before struggling to say what he thought about Castor, starting with a laugh when he was asked.
‘I don’t think the lawyers did the most effective job,’ Cruz told reporters on Capitol Hill after a long pause.
Castor made his first mistake in his opening sentences saying ‘I am the lead prosecutor, lead counsel for the 45th president of the United States’ – then saying ‘I do know the difference.’
Donald Trump’s defense attorney Bruce Castor is facing a slew of backlash from Republican senator – and Twitter – for his ‘rambling’ speech they claim was devoid of any coherent legal argument against the constitutionality of moving forward with the impeachment trial
While Jon Stewart mocked Castor as a ‘sh***y public defender’, a respondent to that thread said all he could think of is ‘My Cousin Vinny’
Others on Twitter compared him to a bad lawyer in The Simpsons
A meme circulated of Castor in his pinstripe suit on the floor of the Senate Tuesday with the head of a cat
Another meme on Instagram poked fun at Trump’s anger at his attorneys, claiming his next team would be comprised of the ‘Three Stooges’
He also praised lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin for his ‘impressive’ argument for the constitutionality of holding an impeachment trial for a no longer sitting president, admitted that he and David Schoen had changed their plans because it.
‘I’ll be quite frank with you, we changed what we were going to do on account that we thought that the House manager’s presentation was well done,’ he said.
As the 47-minute speech went on, it raised more and more eyebrows among senators. Some Republicans were seen passing notes to each other.
‘Senators of the United States – they’re not ordinary people. They’re extraordinary people in the technical sense – extraordinary people,’ Castor said to the room of all 100 U.S. senators before launching into a rambling and seemingly unrelated story about listening to records of past senators speaking.
‘When I was growing up in suburban Philadelphia, my parents were big fans of Senator Everett Dirksen from Illinois. And Senator Dirksen recorded a series of lectures that my parents had on a record and – we still know what records are right? On the thing you put the needle down on and it played,’ he said.
‘Here’s little Bruce – 8, 9, 10-years-old – listening to this back in the late 60s,’ he described, before claiming Dirksen’s voice was commanding.
At another point, in an argument of the unprecedented nature of two impeachments against Trump, Castor appeared to try to take a stab at making a joke that did not land and added to the chaos of the defense argument.
‘Until the impeachment of Bill Clinton, no one alive had ever lived through a presidential impeachment – not unless some of you are 150-years-old,’ Castor said to the otherwise silent room. The oldest senators are 87, the president pro tempore who is presiding over the trial, Patrick Leahy, is 80 and the average age if 61.8, dragged down by 33-year-old Jon Ossoff and 41-year-old Josh Hawley.
‘Not a single person alive had lived through presidential impeachment. Now most of us have lived through three of them.’
At one point he spoke about Nebraska, home state of Ben Sasse, one of the most outspoken Republican critics of Trump, in a meandering quote which Sasse said later he did not understand, calling the courts of Nebraska ‘pretty smart jurists.’
In yet another questionable move, at another point during Castor’s remarks, he even suggested Trump could be arrested.
‘If my colleagues on this side of the chamber,’ Castor pointing to Democrats, ‘actually think that President Trump committed a criminal offense… after he’s out of office, you go and arrest him.’
‘So there is no opportunity where the President of the United States can run rampant in January – the end of his term – and just go away scot-free,’ he continued. ‘The Department of Justice does know what to do with such people. And so far, I haven’t seen any activity in that direction.’
Castor, in making that argument, is claiming that instead of facing impeachment, Trump should actually be criminally pursued by the Justice Department.
He reiterated that there are also no findings or charges related to Trump somehow conspiring with those who stormed the Capitol on January 6.
Perhaps worst of all for Trump’s own pride, he directly conceded that Trump had lost saying: ‘President Trump no longer is in office. The object of the Constitution has been achieved. He was removed by the voters.’
Then he said the electorate were ‘smart’ for doing it.
Reports emerged at the same time Trump’s second lawyer, David Schoen, was wrapping up his defense argument that the former president was furious at his legal team.
On Newsmax, the anchors switched from showing Castor’s speech to interviewing Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard law professor who had spoken for Trump at his first impeachment.
‘There is no argument. I have no idea what he’s doing. I have no idea why he’s saying what he’s saying,’Dershowitz said.
Even one of Trump’s biggest congressional allies, Senator Lindsey Graham, said Castor’s argument was just ‘OK’ and claimed he wasn’t exactly sure where the defense lawyers were going with their remarks on the floor.
‘I think the President’s defense was OK,’ Graham told reporters as he walked from the chamber back to his office after voting against moving forward with the trial. ‘I mean it took a long time to get to where I think the meat of the question is.’
‘I really didn’t know – I thought I knew where it was going, and I really didn’t know very well,’ Graham said of Castor’s argument, adding that only one mind was changed in the whole four hours of procedure.
While five of those votes were already expected, one wildcard joined the pack – Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, who said his mind was changed after hearing both arguments from the House impeachment managers and Trump’s defense team on Tuesday.
One Twitter user said Castor is a worse lawyer than Trump’s former attorney Rudy Giuliani
Former FBI agent and now CNN analyst Asha Rangappa suggested Trump’s lawyers are doing back on purpose because they want to ‘get off the case’
Cassidy was straightforward on what swayed him to change his mind: Trump’s legal defense.
‘Did you listen to it?,’ he said to reporters gathered after the vote. ‘If you listen to it, it speaks for itself. It was disorganized, random, they talked about many things but they didn’t talk about the issue at hand.’
‘And so if I’m an impartial juror, and I’m trying to make a decision based upon the facts as presented on this issue, then the House managers did a much better job,’ Cassidy said.
He also released a statement reiterating his thought process on the vote.
‘If anyone disagrees with my vote and would like an explanation, I ask them to listen to the arguments presented by the House Managers and former President Trump’s lawyers,’ the Louisiana senator said. ‘The House managers had much stronger constitutional arguments. The president’s team did not.’
He made clear in the statement, however: ‘This vote is not a prejudgment on the final vote to convict.’
Texas Senator John Cornyn said after the vote Tuesday: ‘I thought the President’s lawyer – the first lawyer just rambled on and on and on and didn’t really address the constitutional argument… I’ve seen a lot of lawyers and a lot of arguments and that was not one of the finest I’ve seen’
Six Republicans crossed the party line Tuesday night to vote with the 50 Democrats that moving forward with an impeachment trial against an ex-president is constitutional.
When walking out of the chamber on Tuesday night, Murkowski, one of the Republican defectors, made clear to reporters she felt Trump’s lawyers missed their opportunity to present a sound case against the constitutionality of continuing the impeachment proceedings against now-private citizen Trump.
‘Today was supposed to be an opportunity to be briefed on the constitutionality of whether or not you can move forward with an impeachment of a former president,’ the Alaska moderate Republican said. ‘I thought that the House presented a pretty good legal analysis.’
She also claimed Castor was a disaster for the former president, but said Schoen was able to redeem some of the legal argument.
‘In fairness, I was really stunned at the first attorney who presented for former President Trump,’ she said of Castor. ‘I couldn’t figure out where he was going, spent 45 minutes going somewhere, but I don’t think he helped with us better understanding where he was coming from on the constitutionality of this.’
House impeachment managers, led by Representative Raskin, kicked off Tuesday’s proceedings by presenting an argument rooted in legal theory and precedent that an impeachment trial against a former president is in line with the Constitution.
Castor and Schoen were not Trump’s first choice, but were picked up after several other law firms refused to take the case and he fired his first team after they refused to take Trump’s desired approach arguing a fraudulent election.
From 2000-2008, Castor, a Republican, was district attorney in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania – an area where Trump claims there were wide instances of voter fraud by Democrats.
Famously, during that time he decided not to prosecute Bill Cosby on rape charges, which his successor went ahead with – leading to the comedian being convicted and imprisoned.
The attorney later had to settle a case with Cosby victim Andrea Costand who claimed Castor defamed her by suggesting she was not credible.
In August 2016, Castor briefly became acting attorney general of Pennsylvania for less than a month. He is now in private practice.
Despite facing harsh criticism for his approach on Tuesday, Castor defended himself, claiming he doesn’t plan to switch up any legal strategy going forward in the trial.
‘I thought we had a good day,’ Castor told the press on Capitol Hill when asked about criticism – including from Republicans – that he didn’t make a good case against constitutionality for the trial.
‘Do you anticipate any sort of adjustments after today?’ a reporter asked of the former president’s attorney.
‘No, I set up the outline a week ago and it will not change,’ he shot back.
The Senate voted 56-44 on Tuesday that the trial is constitutional and to move forward on Wednesday with the proceedings.
The Republican senators who voted along with Democrats include Cassidy, Murkowski, Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
Most surprising of the six is Cassidy, who previously agreed with 44 other Republicans that holding the trial would go against the Constitution’s intent since he is no longer the sitting president.
THE IMPEACHMENT LEGAL TEAMS
THE HOUSE IMPEACHMENT MANAGERS
Who’s who in the prosecution (from left): Jamie Raskin, David Cicilline, Joaquin Castro, Diana DeGette, Rep. Eric Swalwell, Stacey Plaskett, Joe Neguse
Lead impeachment manager: Jamie Raskin. Constitutional law professor who lectured at American University, in Washington D.C., before moving into politics as a Maryland state senator then House member. Fierce critic of Trump who called for his impeachment after the Mueller report.
David Cicilline: One-time public defender and mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, which is now in his district. Lead author of the article of impeachment.
Joaquin Castro: Texas rep whose twin brother Julian ran for president. Lawyer and member of Texas Legislature before joining Congress.
Diana DeGette: Longest-serving member of Congress in the team with 13 terms for her Colorado district. A civil rights attorney before she went into public office.
Eric Swalwell: California prosecutor turned rep who is the only member of the impeachment managers who was also involved in the first trial. Target of Republican ire for his admitted relationship with a Chinese spy called Fang Fang which he ended when the FBI warned him she was a spy
Stacey Plaskett: Represents the Virgin Islands and therefore has no vote but was an assistant district attorney in the Bronx before entering Congress.
Joe Neguse: Private practice lawyer who is now a two-term Colorado congressman.
Ted Lieu (not in photo): Former Air Force officer who is a reserve colonel in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. The California rep is another bitter public critic of Trump.
Madeleine Dean (not in photo): Pennsylvania attorney turned English professor and member of its house of representatives whose Pennsylvania district is also home of Bruce Castor, one of Trump’s defense team.
Trump defenders: Bruce Castor, David Schoen and Michael van der Veen
David Schoen: Alabama-based criminal defense attorney who has previously represented Roger Stone, and met with Jeffrey Epstein just before his death – then suggested he did not believe it was suicide. Observant Jewish attorney said he would not work on the Sabbath, leading to impeachment trial being scheduled not to sit from 5pm on Friday, but later said he was not needed that day, allowing it to go on.
Bruce Castor: Castor was Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, district attorney when he decided not to prosecute Bill Cosby on rape charges which his successor went ahead with, leading to the comedian being convicted and imprisoned. Castor settled a defamation case with victim Andrea Costand. Later became acting attorney general of Pennsylvania, and is now in private practice.
Michael van der Veen: Added to the roster of attorneys on the eve of the trial. Philadelphia personal injury attorney who is close to Castor – Castor joined his firm in December – and has also been a criminal defense attorney. A former client said he called Trump a ‘f***ing crook’ in summer 2020.
William Brennan: Veteran Philadelphia criminal defense attorney who appears to have joined on the first day of the trial. Has represented pro-Trump figures but also a college student charged with trying to steal Trump’s tax returns.
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