|Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida said Wednesday he is willing to resign his seat in the House of Representatives to defend former President Donald Trump in a Senate impeachment trial, declaring the effort to punish Trump is “one of the major risks to my people, both in my district and all throughout this great country.”
Gaetz, 38, a third-term congressman who represents Florida’s 1st Congressional District which encompasses a large swath of the Panhandle, told the “War Room” podcast that he and several colleagues were told by the House ethics committee they couldn’t act as defense attorneys while they were sitting members of the lower chamber.
“I love my district . . . but I view this cancellation of the Trump presidency and the Trump movement as one of the major risks to my people, both in my district and all throughout this great country,” he said. “If the president called me and wanted me to go defend him on the floor of the Senate, that would be the top priority in my life.
“I would leave my House seat, I would leave my home.”
Trump defense attorney Bruce Castor, the former district attorney for Montgomery County in Pennsylvania just outside of Philadelphia, said he is planning a defense based on the charge of “incitement to insurrection” rather than using the claim of election fraud.
“There are plenty of questions about how the election was conducted throughout the country, but that’s for a different forum, and I don’t believe that’s important to litigate in the Senate trial, because you don’t need it,” Castor said on Philadelphia news radio station KYW.
“There are statutes that deal with incitement to riot, and it’s not even close that the president engaged in what would be considered criminal conduct. Then there’s a test called the Brandenburg test set down by the Supreme Court. I analyzed that at length, and that isn’t even close to being met. I don’t believe there’s a chance in the world they’re going to be able to demonstrate he committed those crimes, or even anything approaching them.”