Trump's rhetoric protected by First Amendment -defense lawyers

The defense is expected to take three to four hours to argue that Trump was not responsible for inciting the Jan. 6 riot, which sent lawmakers scrambling for safety and resulted in the deaths of five people, including a police officer.

Trump's lawyers said that prosecutors had not directly connected the actions of the rioters to Trump.

"The article of impeachment before the Senate is an unjust and blatantly unconstitutional act of political vengeance," Trump lawyer Michael van der Veen said in his opening argument, adding that it was a "politically-motivated witch hunt" by Democrats.