A defence attorney for former President Donald Trump stormed out of a live video interview on Saturday after likening Trump’s impeachment trial to the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol and angrily accusing the journalist interviewing him of downplaying his claim that prosecutors “doctored evidence.”
Attorney Michael van der Veen was speaking with CBS News anchor Lana Zak after Trump’s acquittal when he tossed his microphone on the ground and left the set after saying Trump’s trial was unfair and Zak’s coverage was biased.
“What happened at the Capitol on January 6 was absolutely horrific, but what happened at the Capitol during this trial was not too far away from that,” he told Zak, comparing the impeachment trial to the violent attack that left at least five people dead.
Van der Veen went on to dismiss the case against Trump by claiming that prosecutors doctored evidence presented against the former president.
“The prosecutors in this case doctored evidence. They did not investigate this case, and when they had to come to the court of the Senate to put their case on, because they hadn’t done any investigation, they doctored evidence. It was absolutely shocking when we discovered it,” he said.
Zak then specified what evidence he was referencing: A tweet that was mislabeled with the wrong date before it was fixed and shown on the Senate floor and one tweet that was incorrectly shown with a blue checkmark on it, indicating that the account posting it was verified as authentic.
“To be clear for our viewers, what you’re talking about now is a checkmark that’s a verification on Twitter that did not exist on that particular tweet, a 2020 that should have actually read 2021, and the selective editing, you say, of the tapes,” Zak said.
“Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. That’s not enough for you? That’s not enough for you?” he angrily interrupted before going on a tangent about media bias and how Americans should seek a middle ground.
“I can’t believe you would ask me a question indicating that it’s all right just to doctor a little bit of evidence,” he said. “There’s more stuff that we uncovered that they doctored, to be frank with you, and perhaps that will come out one day.”
Zak repeatedly said she was not making a judgement, and noted that she was only specifying what evidence the attorney was referencing for viewers who didn’t know. Van der Veen responded by mimicking the journalist, speaking with a higher-pitched voice and tilting his head back and forth.
“That was your question: ‘Isn’t it OK for them to cheat? Just a little bit?’ You said, ‘To be fair, it was only a check on the Twitter.’ That’s what you said,” he said. As Zak began to thank him for his time, he took off his microphone and tossed it on the ground before leaving the camera’s view.
Van der Veen’s team may have won the case, but he otherwise had a rough week. His house was vandalised on Friday, and at one point the Senate broke out in laughter over his pronunciation of Philadelphia, leading to a spoof on Saturday Night Live.