The House impeachment managers accused former President Donald Trump of "the most grievous constitutional crime ever committed by a President" in t
The House impeachment managers accused former President Donald Trump of “the most grievous constitutional crime ever committed by a President” in their final brief before Trump’s impeachment trial begins in earnest Tuesday.
Their brief — technically a reply to the Trump team’s answer to the article of impeachment — follows the submission by Trump’s lawyers of their full pre-trial brief earlier Monday.
The House managers in their brief most prominently counter the two main defenses that Trump’s legal team has put forth — that the Senate cannot constitutionally hold an impeachment trial for a former president and that Trump’s conduct was protected by the First Amendment.
The impeachment managers generally fall back on arguments they made in their full pre-trial brief submitted last week on the issue of whether the Senate has jurisdiction to try an impeachment of a former president.
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“The Framers’ intent, the text of the Constitution, and prior Congressional practice all confirm that President Trump must stand trial for his constitutional crimes committed in office,” the brief reads. “There is no “January Exception” to the Constitution that allows Presidents to abuse power in their final days without accountability.”
Of Trump’s First Amendment defense, the impeachment managers said that the argument from the president’s lawyers is “utterly baseless.”
“President Trump’s incitement of insurrection was itself a frontal assault on the First Amendment. As a matter of law and logic—not to mention simple common sense—his attempted reliance on free speech principles is utterly baseless,” the brief says. “[T]o be clear, this is not a case about ‘protected speech.’ The House did not impeach President Trump because he expressed an unpopular political opinion. It impeached him because he willfully incited violent insurrection against the government.”
The impeachment managers also address Trump’s false claims that he won the election, which Trump’s lawyers defended in a filing last week as impossible to prove “accurate or not.”
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“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,” Trump’s lawyers said.
The House managers shot back Monday: “To call these responses implausible would be an act of charity. President Trump’s repeated claims about a ‘rigged’ and ‘stolen’ election were false, no matter how many contortions his lawyers undertake to avoid saying so. When President Trump demanded that the armed, angry crowd at his Save America Rally ‘fight like hell’ or ‘you’re not going to have a country anymore,’ he wasn’t urging them to form political action committees about ‘election security in general.'”