Sen. Blumenthal calls Trump's defense an 'insult to all of our intelligence'

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on Friday evening following the fourth day of former President TrumpDonald TrumpVirginia GOP gubernatorial nominee acknowledges Biden was 'legitimately' elected Biden meets with DACA recipients on immigration reform Overnight Health Care: States begin lifting mask mandates after new CDC guidance | Walmart, Trader Joe's will no longer require customers to wear masks | CDC finds Pfizer, Moderna vaccines 94 percent effective in health workers MORE’s impeachment trial said the Trump defense team’s response to questions from senators on details surrounding the former president’s response to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot was “an insult to all of our intelligence.”

During an hours-long question-and-answer session on Friday, GOP Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsFormer OMB pick Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Masks off: CDC greenlights return to normal for vaccinated Americans Masks shed at White House; McConnell: 'Free at last' MORE (Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSenate panel deadlocks over Biden pick to lead DOJ civil rights division Senate GOP dismayed by vote to boot Cheney Cheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP MORE (Alaska) asked what “specific actions” Trump took after learning of the Capitol breach, urging his legal team to “be as specific as possible.”

Trump’s lawyers were unable to say when specifically the former president found out that a mob had breached the Capitol but said that, based on his tweets, it was before 2:38 p.m. on Jan. 6.


Blumenthal told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell during an interview Friday evening that this response from Trump’s team was both “shocking” and “deeply offensive.” 

“It was an insult to all of our intelligence, and smart people like Senators Collins and Murkowski, I’m sure, were offended by it,” the Democratic senator added. 

“But it goes to a larger failing in this defense,” Blumenthal continued. “They are assuming that the fix is in. They are sure they have 17 senators who won’t part ways. And I think the other really striking feature of this case is how close, how very close, we came to even greater disaster, how much worse it could have been.” 

Multiple people died amid the chaos at the Capitol, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick. Two additional officers who responded to the riot have since died by suicide, and at least 138 officers suffered injuries, ranging from bruises and lacerations to concussions and fractures. 

House impeachment managers this week presented arguments in favor of convicting Trump for inciting the mob attack with his repeated unsubstantiated claims of a “rigged” 2020 presidential election, while Trump’s team has argued that his statements leading up to the riot were protected by the First Amendment. 


Blumenthal earlier Friday criticized video presentations offered by Trump’s defense team of various Democrats encouraging citizens to take to the streets and protest during the summer’s violent civil unrest spurred by the police killings of Black Americans, including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. 

The Connecticut senator argued that the videos were a "distraction" from Trump "inviting the mob to Washington." 

“They’re trying to draw a dangerous and distorted equivalence," he added. 

Senators in the early afternoon Saturday struck a deal with House impeachment managers and Trump’s legal team to let the Senate bypass calling additional witnesses. The agreement followed a request from Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinWatchdog finds Architect of the Capitol was sidelined from security planning ahead of Jan. 6 Six House Democrats ask Garland to review case of lawyer placed under house arrest over Chevron suit Democrats seek to keep spotlight on Capitol siege MORE (D-Md.), the lead impeachment manager, to depose Rep. Jaime Herrera BeutlerJaime Lynn Herrera BeutlerCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP Uninvited Trump is specter at GOP retreat McCarthy defends Trump response to deadly Jan. 6 riot MORE (R-Wash.), who has hammered Trump for his actions after the Capitol attack on Jan. 6.

Both sides issued closing arguments after the agreement was reached, with a final vote on conviction expected later in the day.