Soon after launching the impeachment defence, former US President Donald Trump's lawyers have returned to a familiar "witch hunt" argument and cited free speech in their arguments before the Senate today.
Donald Trump's defense lawyers have started the argument at his impeachment trial on Friday that the former president should be acquitted of inciting last month's deadly riot at the US Capitol, as the Senate races toward a final vote as soon as Saturday.
Watch Live here
Attorney Michael van der Veen opened his arguments by criticizing the proceedings, CNN reports.
"The article of impeachment now before the Senate is an unjust and blatantly unconstitutional act of political vengeance," he said. "This appalling abuse of the Constitution only further divides our nation when we should be trying to come together around shared priorities. Like every other politically motivated witch hunt, the left has engaged in over the past four years, this impeachment is completely divorced from the facts, the evidence, and the interests of the American people. The Senate should promptly and decisively vote to reject it."
Van der Veen went on to argue that Trump's speech on Jan. 6 before the Capitol riot "explicitly encouraged those in attendance to exercise their rights peacefully and patriotically."