MSNBC's Ari Melber did a Sunday evening special on the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. His final interview was with the former president's campaign staffer Boris Epshteyn who revealed the only excuse that Republicans will have to justify Trump's innocence.
Melber spent the hour outlining the case against Trump, citing the funds the $2.7 million in campaign spent to hold the rally in Washington and the statements from those arrested that they followed what the president told them.
The excuse Epshteyn used is that Trump told his supporters to "stay peaceful." It's a comment that comes after months of telling his supporters to act and to fight for their votes.
"Now it is up to Congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy," he said. "And after this, we're going to walk down — and I'll be there with you — we're going to walk down ... to the Capitol and we're going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women. We're probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them, because you'll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength.
"We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated, lawfully slated. I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard. Today we will see whether Republicans stand strong for [the] integrity of our elections, but whether or not they stand strong for our country, our country. Our country has been under siege for a long time, far longer than this four-year period."
Epshteyn's argument is that nothing else that Trump said matters, only the word "peacefully."
Melber's guests including a slate of former prosecutors described Trump's excuses as like yelling "fire" in a crowded theater. In an earlier interview, Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-NY) described Trump as doing more than just yelling "fire" in the theater. She described the ex-president as bringing the matches and the gasoline, paying for the arsonists to meet at the Capitol, and telling them to burn it down with a brief comment that fire is bad.
Epshteyn argued against Melber that he should "fire" the person who put together his clips reel because it didn't include Trump's comment about "peacefully and patriotically" attacking the capitol.
"We're not here for your advice to do what we do," Melber said. "You're out of order."
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