Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), during the fourth day of the Senate impeachment trial, submitted a question from former President Donald Trump. Trump is asking if the language used in 2020 regarding the Black Lives Matter protest by Vice President Kamala Harris is considered incitement. Given the impeachment manager’s “proposed standard” for incitement.
The question from Cruz began, “While violent riots were raging, Kamala Harris said on national TV, “They’re not gonna let up, and they should not.” The viral comments were made by then Sen. Harris (D-CA) on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in June, referring to national Black Lives Matter protests.
The death of George Floyd sparked the protests. In many instances, the protests ended up as destructive riots throughout the country. There was vandalism, violence, injury, looting, fires, and even death. The violence went on for several months in 2020.
“And she also raised money to bail out violent rioters,” Cruz’s question continued in reference to the Minnesota Freedom Fund (MFF) Harris urged her Facebook and Twitter followers to support in June 2020.
The Minnesota Freedom Fund is an organization that supports detained individuals seeking cash bail. Amid last year’s protests, the fund received massive donations, promoting its mission as many arrests were made by those who went beyond protesting to allegedly violating the law.
Harris asked her followers to “help post bail for those protesting,” The MFF’s website states it does “not make determinations of bail support based on the crimes that individuals are alleged to have committed. The Daily Caller reported that last year, the MFF posted bail for a man accused of sexually assaulting his teenage niece, a man accused of sexually assaulting an eight-year-old boy, a father accused of molesting his teenage daughter, and a woman charged with stabbing her aunt.
Cruz’s question continued, “Using the manager’s proposed standard, is there any coherent way for Donald Trump’s words to be incitement and Kamala Harris’s words not to be incitement?”
Response from Lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) he was “not familiar” with the quote from Harris that Cruz has referenced. Michael T. van der Veek, Trump’s attorney, rejected that notion during his response to Cruz, stating the video had been given to the House’s team of Harris’s quote, and they have played the video three times that day.
Despite not recognizing the quote, Raskin finds it “absolutely unimaginable that Vice President Harris would ever incite violence or encourage or promote violence. Obviously, it’s completely irrelevant to the proceedings at hand, and I will allow her to defend herself.”
In a related question during the trial, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) asked on behalf of himself, Cruz, Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS), and Sen Kevin Cramer (R-ND), “Does a politician raising bail for rioters encourage more rioting?” “Yes” was the reply from a representative from Trump’s legal team.