The Slatest

Watch Senators Laugh at Trump Lawyer During Impeachment Trial

In this screenshot taken from a congress.gov webcast, Michael van der Veen, lawyer for former President Donald Trump, speaks on the fifth day of former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial at the U.S. Capitol on February 13, 2021 in Washington, D.C.
In this screenshot taken from a congress.gov webcast, Michael van der Veen, lawyer for former President Donald Trump, speaks on the fifth day of former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial at the U.S. Capitol on February 13, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Handout/Getty Images

Senators openly laughed at one of the lawyers on former President Donald Trump’s defense team. And he didn’t like it one bit. It happened while Mike van der Veen was arguing against considering witnesses in the former president’s impeachment trial, saying it would open the door to Trump’s team calling on lots of Democratic leaders to give sworn testimony and insisting they should all take place in person and not virtually. “There are a lot of depositions that need to be happening,” he said. “None of these depositions should be done by Zoom.”

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The lawyer went on to say that the “depositions should be done in person, in my office, in Philadelphia. That’s where they should be done.” Van der Veen pronounced Philadelphia as “Philydelphia,” which seems to have been what led to an eruption of laughter in the Senate chamber.

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Trump’s lawyer was none too happy about the laughter and he made his feelings clear. “I don’t know how many civil lawyers are here, but that’s the way it works, folks,” he explained. “When you want somebody’s deposition, you send a notice of deposition and they appear at the place where the notice says. That’s civil process. I don’t know why you’re laughing. It is civil process. That is the way lawyers do it. We send notices of deposition.”

At that point, Sen. Patrick Leahy, the presiding officer in the impeachment trial, called for civility in the chamber. “I would remind everybody, we will have order in the chamber during these proceedings,” Leahy said. Van der Veen then walked away from the podium but quickly returned to admonish senators once again. “I haven’t laughed at any of you. And there’s nothing laughable here,” he said.

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