Former president Donald Trump's impeachment lawyer Michael van der Veen blamed the Jan. 6 insurrection on antifa activists -- and was quickly blasted with criticism and fact-checking.
The former president's attorney claimed, without evidence, that one of the first rioters arrested was a "leader of Antifa," which seems to refer to a demonstrator who had been affiliated with Black Lives Matter at one point but who has been rejected by liberal and conservative activist groups alike.
The claims didn't go over well with many viewers.
Trump's lawyer dishonestly suggests riot was just extremists of "different stripes," claiming without evidence that one of the first arrestees was a "leader of antifa." (John Sullivan has an odd history and has used the #antifa hashtag, but no evidence he's some mastermind...)
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) February 12, 2021
The Trump defense arguments so far:
- "Democrat" party
- cancel culture!
- they're so mean!
- They hate Trump and they're SO MEAN!
- A bunch of lies about marches that aren't insurrection
Have I missed any of the fine legal points?
— Joy WE VOTED!! WEAR A MASK!! Reid 😷) (@JoyAnnReid) February 12, 2021
Who's the alleged "Antifa" leader that got arrested in the insurrection? Interested, because Antifa doesn't have leaders.
— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) February 12, 2021
Van der Veen begins with a falsehood, suggesting one fo the first arrestees was a "leader of antifa." This not only perpetuates a conspiracy theory that the rioters were perpetrated by left wing extremists, it's just simply not supported by any evidence.
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) February 12, 2021
[Walks in to the office at Antifa HQ]
Me: Hey guys, where is the Leader of Antifa? I just walked by his desk and he wasn't there.
Co-worker: He's out today. He's at the Capitol inciting a riot to overturn the election as a false flag operation.
Me: Oh yeah, that makes sense.
— Max Berger (@maxberger) February 12, 2021
Despite claims about John Sullivan and antifa involvement, there is no evidence that the mob was anyone but Trump supporters. https://t.co/uXrNl5WrVq
— snopes.com (@snopes) February 12, 2021
Trump's “defense" lawyer just started and is already calling for “antifa" to be prosecuted. What a disgrace.c
— Bill Pascrell, Jr. (@BillPascrell) February 12, 2021
Trump lawyer Michael van der Veen:
"One of the first people arrested was a leader of Antifa. Sadly, he was also among the first to be released."
This appears to refer to John Sullivan who is ... not an antifa leader. This is completely baseless.https://t.co/l1tyIYMASy
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) February 12, 2021
Van der Veen says, "One of the first people arrested was the leader of antifa."
He doesn't name who he is referring to, but having tracked these cases from the start, it's safe to say this is false — no "leader of antifa" has been charged in the insurrection
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) February 12, 2021
Reminder: John Sullivan's brother James APPEARS to have been in direct contact with Rudy, and he set up that false flag Antifa attack then. pic.twitter.com/T1L2UyCs4w
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) February 12, 2021