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Judge Shuts Down Trump Lawyer's Claim That He Urged Supporters To Be Peaceful On Jan. 6

Judge Shuts Down Trump Lawyer's Claim That He Urged Supporters To Be Peaceful On Jan. 6
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Things took a tense turn in a federal court hearing on Monday about former Republican President Donald Trump's role in the January 6 insurrection, when federal Judge Amit Mehta appeared to have little patience for Trump's version of the story.

Trump's lawyers attempted to claim that Trump told his supporters to behave "peacefully and patriotically" during the January 6 events. But Judge Mehta was having none of it, citing Trump's hours of silence before and during the storming of the Capitol.

Mehta bluntly shot back at Trump's lawyer, "Let's stick with the facts," before listing off the myriad ways Trump's behavior could have been construed as an endorsement of the deadly coup attempt.

His response left many people on social media cheering.

The hearing was in response to three civil suits brought by Capitol Police and House Democrats Eric Swalwell and Bennie Thompson that allege Trump and his allies, including Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump Jr., Republican Representative Mo Brooks and far-right groups The Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, directly instigated the attack on the Capitol.

Trump's lawyers are pushing for the suits to be thrown out of court on the basis of presidential immunity. During the hearing, one of Trump's lawyers, Jesse Binnall, argued that Trump had urged his supporters to be peaceful on January 6.

Binnall also ttempted to argue that Trump's rhetoric was no different than that of leftist Senator Bernie Sanders' in the lead-up to the 2017 shooting of GOP Representative Steve Scalise during a congressional baseball game practice.

Judge Mehta shot back that he was not "interested" in "whataboutism," before making it clear he was not about to let Trump's lawyers' version of events stand. He responded:

"Let's stick with the facts..."
"[For a] two-hour period, [Trump did not] take to Twitter or to any other type of communication and say, 'Stop. Get out of the Capitol. What you are doing is not what I wanted you to do.'"
"What would you have me do with the allegation that the president did not act?"

On social media, people applauded Mehta for his no-nonsense approach to the Trump lawyers' claims.

Though Mehta, an Obama appointee, seemed least amenable to the Trump team's claims, he was also skeptical of the plaintiffs' claims that Trump's behavior constituted a conspiracy and seemed unsure about their assertion that it fell outside the parameters of presidential immunity from prosecution.

Judge Mehta's ruling on the hearing is still forthcoming as of this writing.