Former President Donald Trump formally responded to his impeachment on Tuesday, arguing that the Senate has no constitutional grounds to try him and should, as a result, acquit him.
In the 14-page response, Trump’s legal team, consisting of Bruce L. Castor Jr. and David Schoen, assert that the article of impeachment, which charges Trump with inciting the deadly mob riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6., should be considered null and void because the Republican is “no longer President.” The charge, they said, is based on legal principles that “run patently contrary to the plain language of the Constitution,” and since Trump cannot be removed from an office he no longer holds, the impeachment is “irrelevant to any matter before the Senate.”
While the response acknowledges that rioters “unlawfully breached and vandalized the Capitol, that people were injured and killed, and that law enforcement is currently investigating and prosecuting those who were responsible,” Trump’s team denied that he incited violence. The response also claims Trump did not try to stifle the electoral vote count and did not make “any effort to subvert the certification of the results of the 2020 Presidential election” on his phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
Trump’s attorneys also argued that along with the Senate not having the constitutional grounds to hold an impeachment trial for a former president, the House of Representatives’ rushed and scattered process was not only “facially and substantively flawed,” but also fraught with administrative inconsistencies that prevented him from receiving due process.
Takeaways From Trump Impeachment Trial Briefs
Congressional Democrats and lawyers for former President Trump released competing briefs Tuesday outlining their legal strategies for next week’s Senate impeachment trial over Trump’s role in inciting a violent mob to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Reading the legal briefs filed by the two parties is like stepping into two completely different universes.
Democrats are still enraged by the deadly riot of Jan. 6 and drew a direct line from Trump’s months-long campaign to delegitimize the presidential election results to his speech in Washington urging supporters to “fight” for him and the violent mob that then laid siege to the Capitol.
Every House Democrat and 10 Republicans voted last month to impeach Trump for inciting the violence, and there is no question in the minds of Democrats that the Constitution grants the Senate the right to convict Trump and bar him from ever running for office again, even now that he is a private citizen.
In fact, Democrats say it is imperative that Trump is punished to ensure that U.S. democracy is not threatened in this fashion ever again.