WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 — A group of U.S. House Democrats and former President Donald Trump’s lawyers respectively filed legal briefs on Tuesday in an impeachment case.
The Democrats, known as the impeachment managers, accused Trump of inciting the chaotic and deadly violence on the U.S. Capitol last month while urging the U.S. Senate to convict him and bar him from holding office again.
“President Trump’s responsibility for the events of January 6 is unmistakable,” they said in their 80-page brief.
“His conduct endangered the life of every single member of Congress, jeopardized the peaceful transition of power and line of succession, and compromised our national security,” the brief wrote. “This is precisely the sort of constitutional offense that warrants disqualification from federal office.”
“There is no ‘January Exception’ to impeachment or any other provision of the Constitution. A president must answer comprehensively for his conduct in office from his first day in office through his last,” it added.
However, Trump’s legal team argued that the impeachment case is unconstitutional as Trump had already left office.
In their 14-page brief, Trump’s lawyers asked that the Senate dismiss the impeachment article against the former president “because the Senate lacks jurisdiction to remove from office a man who does not hold office.”
They also denied that Trump incited a crowd to engage in destructive behavior.
“The 45th President exercised his First Amendment right under the Constitution to express his belief that the election results were suspect,” the brief said.
The Senate trial of the Trump impeachment is expected to start next week.
The House, where Democrats have a majority, voted to impeach Trump over “incitement of insurrection” on Jan. 13, a week after the Capitol riot and a week before the official end of his presidency.
Trump is the first and only U.S. president to be impeached twice by the House.
The lower chamber impeached Trump in 2019 after an inquiry triggered by a whistleblower complaint raised concerns about the White House’s interactions with Ukraine. The Republican-led Senate later acquitted the president, allowing him to continue holding office.
The U.S. Constitution provides the House of Representatives “shall have the sole Power of Impeachment” and that “the Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.”
Through the impeachment process, the U.S. Congress charges and then tries an official of the federal government for “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
A conviction can only happen in the U.S. Senate and requires at least two-thirds of its members, or 67 senators, to vote in favor of at least one article of impeachment after a trial. The chamber is now evenly split between Democrats and Republicans.
No U.S. president has ever been convicted by the Senate following an impeachment.