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Donald Trump’s impeachment lawyer put on a whiny tone, appearing to mimic a female reporter and then stormed out of a fiery interview on Saturday after his client won acquittal in his second, unprecedented trial.
Michael van der Veen accused the media of being “bloodthirsty” during the TV interview with CBS anchor Lana Zak, before ripping off his microphone and walking off in protest.
Trump defense attorney Michael van der Veen speaks with @LanaZak after the Senate's acquittal vote: "What happened at the Capitol on January 6 is absolutely horrific. But what happened at the Capitol during this trial was not too far away from that."
Watch the full interview: pic.twitter.com/ndjBZzJgNZ
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 13, 2021
Tensions flared when Mr van der Veen repeated the argument that he and his colleagues had made during the trial that prosecuting Democrats had “doctored” the evidence used in the trial.
Ms Zak asked whether he was referring to the various claims he’d made in the trial, including that Democrats played a selectively edited video of Trump’s remarks, submitted a tweet with the wrong date to evidence, and accidentally added a verification check mark next to a Twitter screengrab.
(Democrats maintain these were minor errors but that they didn’t doctor evidence or change the content or facts of what they submitted.)
The question appeared to anger the impeachment lawyer.
“That’s not enough for you?” Mr van der Veen asked in disbelief, before beginning to criticize the media.
“The media is trying to divide this country,” he said. “You are bloodthirsty for ratings. And as such, you’re asking questions that are already set up with a fact pattern. I can’t believe you’d ask me a question indicating that it’s alright just to doctor a little bit of evidence. There’s more stuff we uncovered that they doctored, to be frank with you, and perhaps that will come out one day.”
Mr van der Veen proceeded to rail against the media for minutes and began mocking Ms Zak’s voice in a high, whiny tone.
“What happened at the Capitol on January 5 is absolutely horrific, but what happened at the Capitol during this trial was not too far away from that,” he said at one point.
He also called for an investigation of the House impeachment managers and suggested Ms Zak thought it would be ok to cheat during a trial.
“I didn’t say that,” she responded, as the lawyer became angrier.
“You’ve got to live by your words,” Mr van der Veen said before ripping off his microphone and walking away.
Mr van der Veen did not respond to a request for comment toThe Independent.
During the impeachment trial, Mr Trump’s defense team falsely claimed they were not given access to Democrats’ video evidence ahead of time.
The president’s legal team also misrepresented the timing of the former president’s tweets to suggest the first tweets he sent out during the pro-Trump mob’s attack on the Capitol were urging calm.
Mr Trump did eventually issue a statement to supporters that day urging them to “stay peaceful,” but it was a full 14 minutes after he once again condemned former vice-president Mike Pence for not overturning the legitimate election results, writing, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.”
Throughout the impeachment process, Mr Trump’s attorneys claimed Democrats were tampering with evidence and not following proper court procedure, including showing a “hoax” video linking the president’s speech just before the riot to scenes from the attack on the Capitol.
Democrats maintain the video is an accurate summary, and that they followed proper guidelines for an impeachment, which is a political process that doesn’t follow the same legal guidelines as a normal court of law.