Speed Reads

impeachment round 2

It wasn't entirely clear what Trump's lawyer was going for in opening impeachment argument — but it may have been strategic

Former President Donald Trump's impeachment lawyer Bruce Castor began his argument that the Senate trial is unconstitutional by complimenting the House impeachment manager's opposing case, a clear indictment of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot — "You will not hear any member of the team representing ... Trump say anything but in the strongest possible way denounce the violence of the rioters" — and with some flattering words for the lawmakers he was addressing. After that, though, things got a little confusing for many observers, who couldn't quite figure out where he was going with his argument or his lengthy praise of the lawmakers before him.

Castor — who previously told The Washington Post he's a guy who "gets up there in court and talks" — meandered a bit, hitting a number of different topics during his presentation, leaving some to wonder if he was just "running out the clock," since Trump will almost certainly be acquitted, either way.

But sources within Trump's orbit told The New York Times and NBC News that Castor's seemingly incoherent presentation was, in fact, very deliberate following the Democrats' "emotionally-charged" opening argument, which Castor himself called "brilliant." His goal, the Times and NBC report, was to "lower the temperature" before Trump's other attorney, David Schoen, focused more heavily on the constitutionality of the case. Of course, that explanation could also be attempt at damage control from Team Trump. Tim O'Donnell