Key arguments by Trump’s lawyers ahead of impeachment trial
By ERIC TUCKER
17 minutes ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Donald Trump stands trial before the Senate this week on an impeachment charge that accuses him of inciting the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
His lawyers in a 78-page memorandum on Monday detailed a range of legal and factual arguments that they intend to make at trial.
Some of the highlights:
ARGUMENT: TRUMP DID NOT INCITE THE INSURRECTION
Defense lawyers are adamant that Trump did not incite the riot when he addressed a huge crowd of supporters at a rally that preceded it.
ARGUMENT: HIS SPEECH IS PROTECTED
The Trump legal team plans to lean on the Constitution in multiple ways, including by arguing that Trump enjoyed First Amendment protections in everything he said to his supporters.
“The fatal flaw of the House’s arguments is that it seeks to mete out governmental punishment — impeachment — based on political speech that falls squarely within broad protections of the First Amendment,” the lawyers say.
ARGUMENT: THE TRIAL ITSELF IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL
This is disputed among legal scholars, but Trump’s legal team plans to argue that the trial itself is unconstitutional because he is no longer in office. They say the Constitution does not extend the power of impeachment against a “private citizen.”
They insist that conviction at an impeachment trial requires the possibility of removing the defendant from office. Now that Trump is out of the White House, they say, there is no legal basis for such a trial.
DEMOCRATS HAVE THEIR OWN STATEMENTS AND ACTIONS TO ANSWER FOR
Trump’s lawyers signaled that they’ll look to defend Trump by invoking other examples of what they say is similar political rhetoric from Democrats.
They point to a statement that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made at a 2018 news conference about the Trump administration’s child separation policy. “I just don’t even know why there aren’t uprisings all over the country. Maybe there will be,” she said.
Read the rest here:
Democrats had challenged Trump to explain in next week’s proceedings why he disputed factual allegations
Donald Trump’s legal team has said the former president will not voluntarily testify under oath at his impeachment trial in the Senate next week, where he faces the charge from House Democrats that he incited the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol on 6 January.
The lead House impeachment manager, Jamie Raskin, a Democrat, wrote to Trump asking him to testify under oath before or during the trial, challenging the former president to explain why he and his lawyers have disputed key factual allegations at the center of their charge that he incited a violent mob to storm the Capitol.
“You denied many factual allegations set forth in the article of impeachment. You have thus attempted to put critical facts at issue,” Raskin wrote in a letter made public on Thursday.
He went on to say that if Trump refused to do so, an adverse inference would be made from his reluctance.
Hours after the letter was released, the Trump adviser Jason Miller said that the former president “will not testify” in what he described as an “unconstitutional proceeding”. Trump’s lawyers dismissed the request as a “public relations stunt”.
The request from House impeachment managers does not require Trump to appear – though the Senate could later force a subpoena – but it does warn that any refusal to testify could be used at trial to support arguments for a conviction. Even if Trump does not testify, the request nonetheless makes clear Democrats’ determination to present an aggressive case against him even though he has left the White House.
5 lawyers leave Trump impeachment team ahead of trial: reports
BY SARAH POLUS – 01/30/21 09:37 PM EST
Butch Bowers, the lead attorney who was slated to represent former President Trump during his second impeachment trial in just more than a week, has left the legal team along with four other members, according to multiple reports.
“I think [Trump’s] gonna have a good [legal team],” Graham said. “Butch Bowers I think will be sort of the anchor tenant. I’ve known Butch for a long time, solid guy. And I think, you know, over time, they’ll put the team together.”
Now, Bowers is no longer on the defense team, two attorneys close to the situation told Politico.
Deborah Barbier, another South Carolina lawyer, has also dropped off the Trump legal team, one person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.
Trump spokesperson Jason Miller did not directly address Bower’s exit to Politico.