Michael van der Veen, an attorney for Donald Trump’s defense in his second impeachment trial, suggested on Friday that Antifa was responsible for the January 6 Capitol insurrection—a false accusation that blatantly contradicts the assessment of the FBI.
The lie echoes House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who asserted last month that “everybody across this country” bears responsibility for the Capitol attack. These are attempts to obscure the fact that the former president fomented his supporters to unleash violence in order to stop the election certification while recalling Trump’s infamous claim that “both sides”—left and right—were to blame for the white supremacist-borne violence in Charlottesville in 2017. (Later on Friday, Trump’s lawyers made the mind-boggling decision to re-air Trump’s Charlottesville meltdown to once again rewrite that history.)
As I wrote at the time, by extending blame for the Capitol insurrection to everyone, McCarthy has rendered responsibility a moot point. Trump’s defense team has now one-upped that by falsely accusing extremists of “various different stripes and political persuasions” were behind the pro-Trump Capitol attack last month when countless pieces of video evidence, charging documents, and law enforcement assessments rebut that bold lie. But with a defense so weak that debuted dead on arrival, who can afford to care about the truth?