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Politics Trump lawyers rip impeachment case as Senate clinches trial pact

02:25  13 february  2021
02:25  13 february  2021 Source:   politico.com

Power Up: Democrats and Trump's lawyers just previewed their impeachment trial strategy. Here's a breakdown.

  Power Up: Democrats and Trump's lawyers just previewed their impeachment trial strategy. Here's a breakdown. The trial begins next week.

Trump 's lawyers also argued that the Senate cannot convict a former president, and that the House's impeachment charge is flawed because it groups multiple alleged offenses into a single article. “[I]ndulging House Democrats hunger for this political theater is a danger to our Republic [sic] democracy and the rights that we hold dear,” Trump ’s attorneys Bruce Castor, David Schoen and Michael van der Veen concluded. The brief contains sharply partisan rhetoric, which is unusual for a legal document. Trump ’s lawyers write that House Democrats are suffering from “ Trump

As senators clear the president of corruption charges, his campaign condemns the "nonsense" case . Democrats charged Mr Trump in December with pressuring Ukraine to smear a potential White House rival. He will now become the first impeached president to seek re-election. Impeachment allows Congress - the part of the US government that writes and brings in laws - to put presidents on trial .

Former President Donald Trump's attorneys said on Monday that the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol was perpetrated by people “of their own accord and for their own reasons,” and not because of Trump’s call to march on Congress and “fight like hell.”

Donald Trump standing in front of a car: Former President Donald Trump waves as he boards Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on Jan. 20, 2021. © Alex Brandon/AP Photo Former President Donald Trump waves as he boards Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on Jan. 20, 2021.

In a 78-page legal brief ahead of the Senate’s impeachment trial, Trump’s attorneys argued the House’s effort is constitutionally deficient and cannot result in his conviction on a charge of inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. They say Democrats declared Trump’s free speech impeachable and linked it to what the attorneys say is a yearslong effort to punish him.

Opinion: The Senate should do everything it can to avoid a zombie impeachment trial

  Opinion: The Senate should do everything it can to avoid a zombie impeachment trial Tim Naftali writes that with almost 6 in 10 Americans saying they blame President Trump for the January 6 insurrection, is it really inevitable that this dark episode will lead to a zombie Senate trial that mindlessly sleepwalks to an acquittal? Many historians don't like the idea of inevitability, since it denies the important role of individuals and institutions in bucking perceived trends. In that spirit, I believe there are three potential outcomes, not all of which are mutually exclusive, that would be better than where we seemed to be headed now. The Senate trial could be short-circuited now without a verdict.

The House impeachment managers walked the articles of impeachment across the Capitol after a long-anticipated vote to start what promises to be a partisan impeachment trial of President Trump . Because these seven Democrats are now basically going to become the face of the House’s case . They will be the ones writing briefs, but more importantly, arguing on the floor of the Senate as to why President Trump ’s behavior warrants impeachment . And they’re going to be all over TVs across the country.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer responded to the proposed rules for Mr. Trump 's Senate impeachment trial Monday night, calling the resolution "a national disgrace." Schumer criticized Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for releasing the proposal at the last minute, claiming the Kentucky Senator , "didn't want people to study it or know about it." The lawyers cited Mr. Trump 's insistence to the president of Ukraine that he work with Barr to investigate supposed Ukrainian interference in the 2016 campaign, as detailed in the White House's summary of the two leaders' July 25 phone call.

Trump's lawyers also argued that the Senate cannot convict a former president, and that the House's impeachment charge is flawed because it groups multiple alleged offenses into a single article.

“[I]ndulging House Democrats hunger for this political theater is a danger to our Republic [sic] democracy and the rights that we hold dear,” Trump’s attorneys Bruce Castor, David Schoen and Michael van der Veen concluded.

The brief contains sharply partisan rhetoric, which is unusual for a legal document. Trump’s lawyers write that House Democrats are suffering from “Trump Derangement Syndrome” and are seeking to “silence a political opponent and a minority party.”

It comes as the Senate is slated to begin the trial on Tuesday — the first such proceeding for a former president, and the second for Trump personally. The House impeached Trump last month for his role in inciting the Jan. 6 riots, which took place while Congress was certifying President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.

How to watch the impeachment trial live

  How to watch the impeachment trial live Tuesday marks the start of former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial, with all eyes on the Senate serving as jury to deliberate whether to convict or acquit the former President. © Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images House Managers walk to the US Senate to deliver the Articles of Impeachment against US President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill on January 15, 2020, in Washington, DC. - The US House of Representatives voted Wednesday to transmit articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate, opening the way for the historic trial of the 45th president for abuse of power.

Former President Donald Trump 's lawyers are presenting their case Friday in his second impeachment trial . CBS News congressional correspondent Nikole Killion reports on the latest developments while CBSN political reporter Caitlin Huey-Burns joins CBSN from Capitol Hill with more on what to expect from Friday's proceedings.

Trump impeachment attorney David Schoen, who is an observant Jew, asked that the trial be paused from from sundown Friday through Saturday in accordance with Jewish law . But on Monday, Schoen sent a letter to Senate leaders reversing course and asking that the trial continue without him Opening arguments start Wednesday, with House managers and Trump ’s defense given 16 hours each over two days to present their case . If both sides use all the time allowed, the trial will run until Saturday evening. The chamber will also be in session as a court of impeachment at 2 p.m. Sunday

Monday’s filing described some of Trump’s conduct — like pressuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” additional votes to overturn Biden’s win — as purely political in nature. And it cites discredited, partisan sources like The Gateway Pundit by pushing dubious claims that elements of the insurrection were actually anti-Trump forces, assertions that federal law enforcement and intelligence officials have consistently debunked.

The brief also rejects Democrats’ contention that Trump sat on his hands during the riots while the violence festered. Rather, they described him as “horrified” by what he witnessed and said there was a “flurry of activity” inside the White House that was impeded by “complex procedural elements.”

However, the brief does not contend with evidence that Trump was calling senators to continue his attack on the election results during the riots, or his tweet criticizing then-Vice President Mike Pence for upholding the election results even after he had fled the Senate chamber as violent rioters were just feet away.

Power Up: Democrats produce the must-see TV in the first day of Trump's impeachment trial

  Power Up: Democrats produce the must-see TV in the first day of Trump's impeachment trial Six Republicans voted with Democrats that the ex-president's trial is constitutional. It's Wednesday and this is the Power Up newsletter. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) – one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump a second time – talks with us at 11a.m. Come pregame the impeachment trial with us here. Thanks for waking up with us.

A trio of Republican senators allied with former President Donald Trump met with his defense team Thursday evening, in the middle of an impeachment trial in which they will vote on whether to convict Trump and potentially bar him from holding public office again.

Donald Trump ’s lawyers expect to wrap up their defense arguments at his Senate impeachment trial by Friday night, according to an adviser to the former president. The defense lawyers , David Schoen, Bruce Castor and Michael van der Veen, will use at most the eight hours they have at their disposal on Friday to make their case that Trump did not incite the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, said Jason Miller, a longtime adviser. “We will finish up our presentation tomorrow,” Miller tweeted Thursday.

Democrats appear poised to conduct a trial without calling witnesses, which could impede their ability to rebut some of the factual claims made by Trump’s team about what happened behind the scenes during the riots.


Video: Trump's lawyers hint at their defense strategy ahead of Senate impeachment trial (USA TODAY)

Still, Senate leaders reached an agreement allowing the House managers to seek a debate and votes on witness testimony, leaving open the possibility that the Senate calls witnesses. Several Senate Democrats have indicated they have no interest in dragging out the trial and have noted that they themselves were witnesses to the insurrection on Jan. 6.

Under the agreement, the Senate will hold a debate Tuesday on the constitutionality of the trial — a central theme of Trump’s defense — and will begin opening arguments on Wednesday. Each side will have up to 16 hours to present its case. Senators will then pose questions to the House managers and Trump’s lawyers before voting on possible motions to subpoena witnesses. Under the current timeline, the trial could be completed by the beginning of next week.

‘We have to move on’: Why Democrats decided to fast-track Trump’s second impeachment trial

  ‘We have to move on’: Why Democrats decided to fast-track Trump’s second impeachment trial What stands to be lost, at least temporarily, is a full reckoning for what may be the most dismal day for American democracy since the end of the Civil War. Just 48 hours after the deadly attack, Democratic lawmakers — including Pelosi (D-Calif.) and top Senate Democrat Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) — had quickly coalesced behind a plan to try to force Trump from office, one that appeared headed toward an unprecedented second impeachment.

Democrats intend to lean heavily on the evidence collected in FBI affidavits charging hundreds of Capitol insurrectionists, many of whom cited Trump’s comments as tacit permission to storm the Capitol. Though Trump’s team notes that some elements of the insurrection were planned ahead of Trump’s Jan. 6 speech, urging a crowd of thousands to march on the Capitol, Democrats have contended Trump’s pattern of conduct for months — baseless claims that the election was stolen from him — created the conditions that led to the riots.

The House managers formally responded later Monday to the Trump team’s initial arguments last week, maintaining that Trump’s “attempted reliance on free speech principles is utterly baseless.”

“The House did not impeach President Trump because he expressed an unpopular political opinion,” the House managers wrote Monday. “It impeached him because he willfully incited violent insurrection against the government.”

Evidence bolstering the House managers' case continued to pour out in court on Monday, underscoring the volatile and constantly shifting narrative the House's prosecutors will have at their disposal.

In one filing, issued by an attorney for alleged insurrectionist Patrick McCaughey, Trump is described as a "de facto unindicted coconspirator" for the Capitol riots.

The 6 Senate Republicans to watch on impeachment

  The 6 Senate Republicans to watch on impeachment These are the GOP lawmakers seen as most likely to vote for Trump’s conviction.During a vote on the constitutionality of the proceedings a few weeks ago, five Republican senators joined Democrats to affirm that they believed the trial should be allowed to move forward. Those lawmakers — Sens. Mitt Romney (R-UT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Pat Toomey (R-PA), and Ben Sasse (R-NE) — are seen as the most likely to potentially support conviction. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) joined them in another vote on the constitutionality question at the start of the trial Tuesday, saying afterward he was unimpressed by the Trump team’s arguments.

"The idea that there was a lack of planning finds some confirmation in the fact that the defendant's somewhat of a de facto unindicted coconspirator in this case — former President Trump — was impeached for a second time precisely because it was alleged that he incited otherwise peaceful protestors, such as the defendant, to create violence at the Capitol," McCaughey's lawyer, Lindy Urso, argued.

McCaughey was seen in a now notorious video that appears to show him pinning a police officer at the door of the Capitol while his helmet is ripped off.

In another filing, issued by Proud Boys organizer Ethan Nordean Monday morning, cited Trump’s commentary as a driving force behind the Capitol breach.

“Egged on by Donald Trump, other politicians, his legal advocates, and news media these people believed the election had been stolen,” Nordean’s defense attorneys argued.

The bulk of Trump’s trial brief is largely a technical argument against the constitutionality of punishing a former president. Trump’s team suggests that the impeachment power can only be applied to sitting officeholders. The House, buttressed by legal scholars across the political spectrum as well as scattered precedents, have noted that the Constitution’s power to “disqualify” Trump from holding office again has been used sporadically against former officeholders, and that the Senate has the “sole power to try all impeachments” according to the Constitution.

Democrats have noted that the disqualification power would have little value if targets could simply resign moments before it is deployed in order to avoid consequences.

Last month, 45 out of 50 Republican senators voted for a motion declaring the impeachment trial unconstitutional because Trump no longer holds federal office. The vote was seen as a harbinger for the eventual vote on whether to convict Trump. Conviction would require the support of at least 17 GOP senators to meet the two-thirds threshold.

The Trump brief makes clear that even in the unlikely event of a conviction, he would attempt to overturn the verdict — itself an unprecedented effort. Trump’s lawyers say the conviction would be “unauthorized” and “non-binding” — and that if Trump runs for president again, it “would be challenged in a court of law.”

When Will Donald Trump's Second Impeachment Trial Begin? .
Impeachment trial proceedings begin this week, more than a month after the Capitol riots that triggered the former president's second impeachment in the House.Senators will convene on Capitol Hill at 1 p.m. ET to begin the trial. C-SPAN will livestream the trial, and many major television networks are also expected to cover the proceedings.

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