Trump impeachment lawyer claims Cory Booker encouraged violence while chatting with Seth Meyers

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Appearing on NBC’s “Late Night” in July 2019, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker told host Seth Meyers that Donald Trump made him so angry that sometimes he felt like punching him.

“My testosterone makes me want to feel like punching him, which would be bad for this elderly out-of-shape man that he is,” the New Jersey Democrat said, adding that he’d never do that.

Then he told the story about how a former tight end at Stanford University, where he played college football, came up to him at a political event and said, “Dude, I want you to punch Donald Trump in the face.” Booker said he responded, “Dude, that’s a felony, man.”

On Friday, Trump defense attorney Michael van der Veen said during the former president’s unprecedented second impeachment trial that this proved Democrats, not the former president, were the ones inciting violence.

The highly edited snippet of Booker’s interview was one of several clips of Democratic officials calling for action juxtaposed against excerpts of Trump speeches calling for “law and order.”

“Contrast the president’s repeated condemnations of violence with the rhetoric from his opponents,” van der Veen said.

U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., rejected what he called “clearly a distraction through false equivalence” of comparing comments like Booker’s to Trump’s speech on Jan. 6 where he repeated his disproven claims of a stolen election and then told his supporters to go to the Capitol and “fight like hell.”

“Being out there and saying you’re fighting pass to Affordable Care Act, and we got to get out there and pass to have a fair economy, fight to have a fair economy, is different than for months seeding the big lie that you’ve been cheated out of an election, and then directing people who you know are, include white supremacists and others, toward the Capitol,” he said, according to pool reports.

Booker spokesman Jeff Giertz tweeted that the senator has been the object of several misleading Trump attacks. During the presidential campaign, for example, Trump made baseless charges that Booker would lead efforts by Joe Biden to bring low-income housing projects and crime to the suburbs.

Trump was impeached on charges that he incited the Jan. 6 riot by his supporters at the U.S. Capitol. Five people were killed, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick a South River native.

Jonathan D. Salant may be reached at jsalant@njadvancemedia.com.

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