“House manager Swalwell showed you this tweet this week. And he emphasized that this tweet reflected a call to arms. He told you repeatedly that this was a promise to call in the cavalry for Jan. 6. He expressly led you to believe that President Trump’s supporters believe that the president wanted armed supporters at the Jan. 6 speech, paramilitary groups, the cavalry ready for physical combat.
The problem is, the actual text is exactly the opposite. The tweeter promised to bring the Calvary, a public display of Christ’s crucifixion, a central symbol of her Christian faith with her to the president’s speech, a symbol of faith, love and peace. They just never want to seem to read the text and believe what the text means.”
— actual, verbatim defense from Trump defense lawyer David Schoen
Only the most brilliant possible legal minds could have brought us this Calvary defense, and I will now be using it for everything. For instance:
My opponents would have you believe that the message threatened violence! That it was about bringing a weapon, a gun, to the fight. But in fact, it says the exact opposite! “Bring a gnu.” A gnu is a beautiful, majestic creature that inhabits the savanna; nothing could be further from a gun. That my client was thinking about preserving this wildlife even at such a time speaks volumes to his mental state.
You would claim that my client was a part of the insurrection when her text clearly states, “I am apart of the insurrection!” — the exact opposite!
You would claim that my client could not accept the outcome of the election — but in fact, he wrote, “I cannot except the outcome of the election.” He literally cannot take exception to this election! What an endorsement of the legitimacy of U.S. democracy!
Yes, my client tweeted, “TO THE CAPITOL!!!!!!” But this is a toast! Clearly, my client loves the Capitol!
You would claim that my client attended the insurrection when her text clearly states, “Going to the Capitol with the insurrectionists? I’ll definitely be their.” Their what? Could be anything! Ally! Enemy! Impossible to say!
You would claim that my client was storming the U.S. Capitol, when, in fact, he tweeted, “I’m storming the U.S. capital.” Everyone knows that “capital” is filthy lucre, theft amassed against the worker! This person is probably antifa!
It is patently untrue that my client said it is time to bring down the American government. His exact words were, “Its time to bring down the American government.” “Its” is a possessive. Whose time is unclear, and whenever we find whichever person whose time this was, we will have consequences for them, consequences they will richly deserve. But that person is clearly not my client.
Read more from Alexandra Petri:
President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial
The evidence: All of the exhibits presented in the Senate trial
What happens next: A guide to Trump’s impeachment
Graphic: Where Senators stand on impeachment
Stay informed: Read the latest reporting and analysis on impeachment here.