Former President Donald Trump is “simply not guilty” of inciting an insurrection against the United States government, Sen. Tim Scott R-S.C., told “America Reports” on Monday.
Scott said while he appreciated and understood the severity of the situation, given that he was in the chamber when rioters stormed the Capitol, he felt culpability should be placed on those who broke inside the building, not Trump.
“The Democrats should put the blame where it stands, where it should be,” Scott said. “And it does not have to do with the president who said go ‘peacefully’ to protest.”
Scott also speculated two potential defenses that Trump’s lawyers may use to defend him at the hearing. The first defense is the fact that the pipe bombs planted at the Capitol and planning discussions on social media occurred before Trump gave his speech at the National Mall. The second defense implied a potential double standard, in which Democratic members of Congress used aggressive hypothetical language in speeches with no legal retaliation.
In 2018, after former press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was harassed in a restaurant, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., encouraged others to do more of the same to Trump officials, including create a “crowd” and “push back on them.”
“They’re not going to be able to go to a restaurant, they’re not going to be able to stop at a gas station, they’re not going to be able to shop at a department store,” Waters said. “The people are going to turn on them, they’re going to protest, they’re going to absolutely harass them.”
Waters is now defending her past comments.
“As a matter of fact, if you look at the words that I used, the strongest thing I said was tell them they’re not welcome,” she said. “[I said] Talk to them. Tell them they’re not welcome. I didn’t say go and fight. I didn’t say anybody was going to have any violence. And so they can’t make that stick.”
Bruce Castor, Trump’s lead attorney, is expected to use Waters’ comments, in addition to those of other Democrats, later this week in the trial.
Trump is expected to be acquitted, as Democrats need 17 Republicans to convict and 45 of the 50 Senate Republicans already voted against even holding the trial.