Instead, he called for calm as the threat of further unrest – which Trump said he was informed of by the Secret Service – casts a shadow over Washington. The briefing took place on Monday and played a role in the president’s decision to include the video, a spokesman told CNN.
None of my true supporters could ever tolerate political violence. None of my true supporters could ever disrespect law enforcement or our great American flag, he said as he sat at the Resolute desk in the Oval Office.
I am now asking everyone who has already believed in our program to think about how we can reduce tensions, ease tensions and promote peace in our country, he said.
At the end of the video, which was shot by the White House and not independent television cameras, Mr. Trump condemned what he called the unprecedented attack on free speech we have seen in recent days.
Efforts to censor, deport and blacklist our citizens are misguided and dangerous, he said. What we need now is to listen to each other instead of shutting ourselves in.
Council members expected Mr. Trump to watch mostly television throughout the day. His only event was the closed-door presentation of the National Arts Medal to country cowboy star Toby Keith and bluegrass musician Ricky Skaggs.
In the afternoon, Mr. Trump issued a statement through the White House insisting that there should be no violence, no violations of law and no vandalism.
But without Twitter, without a campaign rally, without a team of lawyers or Republicans willing to defend his actions, Trump modestly overcame historical embarrassment.
It’s been a far cry since his first impeachment trial, when aides organized a campaign rally in the Battle Creek, Michigan area to coincide with the House vote.
During the rally, which coincided with the indictment, his spokesman appeared in the crowd and held up a sign with the overall result of the vote.
We have all the Republicans (who should vote for us) ahead of us! Trump came when he saw the end result, and added another moment: It’s not like we’re being accused.
This time it’s not like that at all. A handful of Republicans voted to impeach him, including Congresswoman Liz Cheney, the third Republican in the House. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell thinks the impeachment process would help take Trump out of the GOP for good. According to a person familiar with his reaction, Trump was particularly upset Tuesday night by Cheney’s announcement that he had betrayed the presidency.
While other Republicans opposed the impeachment because they thought it would be divisive, most did not defend Trump for the reason he was impeached: Inciting rebellion.
Disabling social networking
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The venues where Trump responded to the indictment were also limited. In general, aides will be looking for the president’s first reaction on Twitter to being the only president in history to be impeached twice. Republican members of Congress would also be wary of what might appear in Trump’s feed if they decided to break with him and vote for impeachment.
But Trump’s bill is permanently frozen, and with it his main weapon for GOP loyalty.
While Trump spoke out against his resignation and told reporters this week that free speech was in jeopardy, CNN learned that one of his senior advisers had made another attempt to prevent him from appearing on frontline platforms instead of the traditional ones that had been banned.
Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner intervened as other officials tried to restore the president’s social media presence on sites that are often havens for extremists like Gab, following an unprecedented ban on several major platforms.
According to an outside consultant and a government official, Kushner and Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino have blocked the efforts of others, including Chief of Staff Johnny McEntee, to post the president on peripheral social media platforms after he was sidelined on nearly every major platform, including Twitter, Facebook and now YouTube.
Initially, these officials tried to use other Twitter accounts, including accounts run by campaign staff, to tweet on Trump’s behalf.
Without Twitter, Trump turned to more traditional methods of communication. On Wednesday, as more and more Republicans said they would vote to remove Trump from office, the president issued a statement through his press office calling for a nonviolent vote as more protests were reported.
That’s not what I stand for, and that’s not what America stands for. I ask ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm minds. Thanks, Trump wrote in 270 characters that would look good in a tweet.
Lawmakers and senior advisers to the president have asked Trump to issue a statement saying the same thing, and to help more members of his own party vote against him.
The White House said this week that it opposed the indictment, and Trump spoke out against the trial on Tuesday.
It’s causing tremendous anger and division and far more pain than most people will ever understand, which is very dangerous for the United States, especially at this very sensitive time, he said during his visit to Texas. White House deputy press secretary Judd Deer said a politically motivated lawsuit against a president with only 12 days left in his term will only further divide our great country.
More isolated than ever
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Trump’s second trial comes at a time when he is more isolated than ever. Several of his cabinet secretaries – those who have not resigned in protest – are fleeing him, his relationship with the vice president remains strained and several of his key staff are expected to leave their posts this week.
This includes longtime City Council member Hope Hicks, whose last day was Tuesday.
Several senior staffers told CNN they had no intention of delaying their departure because of the president’s resignation.
In the White House, Trump’s defense is almost invisible. The atmosphere in the building is dark and everyone is angry at everyone else, a White House official told CNN. The president feels sorry for himself because he doesn’t think enough people are standing up for him, the White House aide said, adding that Trump has been complaining about being under siege for five years and that he thinks his recent impeachment is a continuation of that criticism.
But in the eyes of many of Trump’s family members, his actions here have led no one else, the aide said, adding that he had provoked the crowd to stop impeaching him, so he won’t find many sympathetic Republicans.
Two sources told CNN Trump brought back Alan Dershowitz after long defending Trump in his first indictment. Trump told the nation that Dershowitz’s Senate defense saved him at his last trial.
Trump told people to stop paying Rudy Giuliani’s legal fees, a person familiar with the matter told CNN, though advisers aren’t sure the president is taking his instructions seriously. The Washington Post first gave details of Giuliani’s legal fees.
Trump blamed his old lawyer and many others for the difficult situation he now finds himself in, although he has not taken personal responsibility, publicly or privately, people who know his reaction have told CNN. Giuliani is still expected to play a role in Trump’s defense of the indictment, but so far he has not been involved in most of the conversations.
Several prominent figures in Trump’s recent indictment, including Jay Sekulow and Kenneth Starr, have recused themselves. White House adviser Pat Cipollone is also not expected to play a role and is considering resigning after last week’s uproar. Trump has neglected Cipollon for months.
Trump spoke of his and his children’s forgiveness with renewed urgency after the attack on the U.S. Capitol, multiple sources familiar with the case told CNN. Someone close to the president thinks it’s a bad idea to pardon himself and his kids after the riots, but he wants to use the remaining power to the Nth degree.
But aides and allies are worried about public opinion on pardons after a riot on Capitol Hill killed five people. Sources told CNN there is division in the west wing among those shocked by the attack, many of whom are putting pressure on a president whose main concern is to protect himself and his family.
Still, Trump hopes the pardon, which could happen as early as Thursday, will distract him from the historic charge and the consequences of the uprising, the White House adviser said.
Although some of his staff worked this week on events related to what remains of Trump’s legacy – such as diplomacy and deregulation in the Middle East – he showed little interest.
His comments about building a wall on the Texas border on Tuesday lasted only 20 minutes and were overshadowed by his remarks denouncing the anger over the indictment and his rejection of social media platforms.
The only other event on his schedule this week – the Freedom Medal ceremony for New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick – was canceled after Belichick said he would not attend.
CNN’s Pamela Brown and Jamie Gangel contributed to this report.