Trump lawyer tells impeachment trial ‘clearly there was no insurrection’ – despite McConnell calling it one

Commentators were quick to point out the dictionary definition of insurrection

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Friday 12 February 2021 23:22
Bruce Castor claims 'there was no insurrection' on January 6
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Donald Trump’s defence lawyer has claimed “clearly there was no insurrection” on 6 January, despite then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying there was.

Speaking at the Senate impeachment trial, Bruce Castor said that the critical part of the case is the very narrow issue as to whether Mr Trump incited an insurrection.

“Clearly there was no insurrection. Insurrection is a term … defined in the law that involves taking over a country, a shadow government, taking the TV stations over and having some plan of what you will do when you finally take power. Clearly, this is not that,” he claimed.

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Not only was it pointed out to Mr Castor that he appeared to disagree with senior Republican leadership over what happened on 6 January, but he was also fact-checked over the definition of the word insurrection.

First, the dictionary definition of an insurrection is: “an act or instance of rising in revolt, rebellion, or resistance against civil authority or an established government”.

Not only is that a description of what happened that day, but it is also a term that both the Department of Justice and a federal judge have used in legal documents.

Former special counsel to the Department of Defense, Ryan Goodman, cited the justice department saying on 14 January: “The crimes charged in the indictment involve active participation in an insurrection attempting to violently overthrow the United States Government.”

Second, Mr Castor appears to argue that for the events at the Capitol to be called an insurrection, they would have had to have succeeded.

Given the dictionary definition refers to “an act or instance of rising in revolt” this appears to be a semantic argument.

Mr Castor argues that instead Mr Trump should be accused of “incitement to violence … to riot” and that therefore the keyword of the charge against his client (insurrection) is incorrect.

After reconvening on 6 January, Mr McConnell vowed that the Senate would finish its work that night and confirm the results of the election, undeterred by the “failed insurrection”.

“They tried to disrupt our democracy,” he said. “They failed. They failed.”

His sentiments were echoed by then-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and then-Vice President Mike Pence.

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