Impeachment: Senate to Decide ‘Is Donald Trump Guilty of Inciting Violent Mob?’

Date: 2021-02-08 21:40:12

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Former President Donald Trump’s lawyers laid out their case against his impeachment on Monday, arguing that his second trial is unconstitutional, that he didn’t incite an insurrection and that Democrats have made equally incendiary remarks.

The impeachment charge against Trump should be dismissed because it violates the former president’s free speech and due process rights as well as being “constitutionally flawed,” Trump impeachment attorneys Bruce L. Castor Jr. and David Schoen said in a 75-page trial brief filed Monday.

“Indulging House Democrats’ hunger for this political theater is a danger to our Republic, democracy and the rights that we hold dear,” the lawyers said in the brief.

Trump’s impeachment trial is set to begin at 1 p.m. Tuesday in the Senate on a single charge of inciting an insurrection. The House approved the charge after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, delaying the counting of Electoral College votes for President Joe Biden in a violent assault that resulted in five deaths.

Trump’s attorneys argued in their trial brief that Trump used the word “fight” only a handful of times “in the figurative sense,” and that he also told his supporters at the rally that preceded the Capitol riot to “peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”

The nine House managers serving as prosecutors said in a response filed Monday to an initial answer that Trump’s lawyers submitted last week that all of the former president’s defenses are without merit and that every allegation in the impeachment charge is true.

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

Trump’s lawyers echoed the former president’s combative style in their filing Monday. Adopting one of his favorite phrases, they wrote that Democrats still held to their “fevered hatred for Citizen Trump and their ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome.”’

The former president’s lawyers said that prominent Democrats including Representative Maxine Waters had urged people to confront Trump administration officials in public, yet they aren’t being punished.

They also cited Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar, “herself no stranger to extremist rhetoric,” and her urging of House colleagues to impeach Trump. Omar has tweeted remarks that some saw as anti-Semitic.

“The truth is that both Mr. Trump’s speech and these comments are acceptable political free speech,” the lawyers said. “It is the double standard at play here that is entirely unacceptable” and Trump asks “that the Senate reject it in no uncertain terms.”

But a Democratic aide said Trump’s team can’t pretend his words were “figurative” and similar to comments by Democrats because the former president spent weeks organizing the rally that led to the violence and then delayed any attempt to stop the attack.

In addition, 144 prominent constitutional lawyers from across the political spectrum argued in a letter on Friday that Trump’s speech and conduct on Jan. 6 weren’t protected by the First Amendment, terming that suggestion “legally frivolous.”

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