Read Trump’s impeachment defence in full

Unlike his previous legal team, Mr Trump’s current lawyers seem to have gone along with his insistence on arguing in trial that election was stolen

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Tuesday 02 February 2021 21:48

Related video: Trump impeachment lawyer says Capitol riot had ‘nothing’ to do with him

Through his lawyers, former president Trump responded to the briefing put out by the nine House Democrats serving as impeachment managers during the Senate trial. Mr Trump’s legal team argues in the 14-page document that “the constitutional provision requires that a person actually hold office to be impeached," saying that since Mr Trump has left office the trial is “void ab initio” which means that it is to be treated as invalid from the start. 

They deny that Mr Trump “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States," and they reject that he violated his oath of office. “To the contrary, at all times, Donald J. Trump fully and faithfully executed his duties as President,” his lawyers say in the response. 

Unlike his previous legal team, Mr Trump’s current lawyers seem to have gone along with his reported insistence on arguing in the trial that the election was stolen. They write that Mr Trump exercised his first amendment right when espousing the baseless conspiracy theory that the election was rigged in President Joe Biden’s favour. 

Mr Trump and his lawyers falsely claim that the legality of the election hasn’t been ascertained, writing that “under the convenient guise of Covid-19 pandemic ‘safeguards’ states election laws and procedures were changed by local politicians or judges without the necessary approvals from state legislatures. Insufficient evidence exists upon which a reasonable jurist could conclude that the 45th President’s statements were accurate or not, and he therefore denies they were false". 

On November 12, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency put out a statement saying: “The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history."

Denying what many across the aisle consider facts, the impeachment response completely denies that “the phrase ‘if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore’ had anything to do with the action at the Capitol". 

Read more: Follow live updates on the Biden administration

The lawyers instead argue that Mr Trump’s speech before the riot “was clearly about the need to fight for election security in general”. 

They also reject the claim that “President Trump intended to interfere with the counting of Electoral votes,” despite that a considerable amount of public reporting suggests otherwise. CNN reported that during the 6 January riot, Mr Trump tried to call senators to try to get them to overturn the election. 

The argument that impeaching a former president and private citizen is not legal is repeated throughout the document, the entirety of which can be read here:

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