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Last Updated : Jan 19, 2020 05:50 PM IST | Source: PTI

Articles of impeachment 'brazen and unlawful' attempt to overturn will of Americans: Donald Trump's lawyers

"This is a brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election and interfere with the 2020 election-now just months away," Trump's lawyers said on January 19 in a six-page fiery response filed with the Senate.


US President Donald Trump's legal team filed its first response to impeachment summons from the Senate, calling the two articles passed by the House of Representatives a "brazen and unlawful" attempt to overturn the will of the American people.

"This is a brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election and interfere with the 2020 election-now just months away," Trump's lawyers said on January 19 in a six-page fiery response filed with the Senate.

"The highly partisan and reckless obsession with impeaching the President began the day he was inaugurated and continues to this day," they said and urged the Senate to reject the two articles of impeachment.

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The House of Representatives, controlled by the Democratic Party, on Wednesday voted to send articles of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate, in a major development to remove him from office for his alleged abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

In a 228-193 vote, which was mainly on party lines, the House appointed seven impeachment managers who will argue the Democrats' case for removing Trump from the office. The managers - Congressmen Adam Schiff, Jerrold Nadler, Zoe Lofgren, Hakeem Jeffries, Val Demings, Jason Crow, and Sylvia Garcia - were named by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The 435-member House on December 18 charged Trump with "high crimes and misdemeanors" and impeached him for pressuring Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a potential Democratic rival for the current president in the 2020 elections.

"The evidence overwhelmingly establishes that he is guilty of both. The only remaining question is whether the members of the Senate will accept and carry out the responsibility placed on them by the Framers of our Constitution and their constitutional Oaths," the brief said.

"History will judge each Senator's willingness to rise above partisan differences, view the facts honestly, and defend the Constitution,” the House managers said in an apparent dig at the Senate which is controlled by Trump's Republican Party.

The Senate will decide whether to convict and remove Trump from the office. Political pundits believe that the Senate is unlikely to remove Trump from the office.

Trump on Friday appointed several nationally known lawyers to the team that will defend him in the proceedings, set to open Tuesday afternoon.

"The articles of impeachment submitted by House Democrats are a dangerous attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their President," Trump's lawyers responded.

In their 111-page brief, the House managers said that Trump's conduct is the Framers' "worst nightmare."

The Senate should do its constitutional duty to address the ongoing threat that the president poses to the nation by convicting and removing him from the office, they said.

"The case against the President of the United States is simple, the facts are indisputable, and the evidence is overwhelming: President Trump abused the power of his office to solicit foreign interference in our elections for his own personal political gain, thereby jeopardizing our national security, the integrity of our elections, and our democracy,” they alleged.

"And when the President got caught, he tried to cover it up by obstructing the House's investigation into his misconduct. Senators must accept and fulfill the responsibility placed on them by the Framers of our Constitution and the Oaths they have just taken to do impartial justice. They must conduct a fair trial — fair to the President and fair to the American people," the House managers said in a joint statement.

"The Constitution provides a remedy when the President commits such serious abuses of his office: impeachment and removal. The Senate must use that remedy now to safeguard the 2020 US election, protect our constitutional form of government, and eliminate the threat that the president poses to America's national security,” they said.

Soon lawyers Jay Sekulow and Pat Cipollone responded on behalf of Trump.

"The articles of impeachment are constitutionally invalid on their face. They fail to allege any crime or violation of law whatsoever, let alone ;high crimes and misdemeanors,' as required by the Constitution,” they wrote.

"They are the result of a lawless process that violated basic due process and fundamental fairness. Nothing in these articles could permit even beginning to consider removing a duly elected President or warrant nullifying an election and subverting the will of the American people," the White House said.

According to the lawyers, the articles of impeachment now before the Senate are an affront to the Constitution of the United States, democratic institutions, and the American people.

"The articles themselves-and the rigged process that brought them here-are a transparently political act by House Democrats. They debase the grave power of impeachment and the solemn responsibility that power entails. They must be rejected," the White House said.

"The House process violated every precedent and every principle of fairness governing impeachment inquiries for more than 150 years. Even so, all that House Democrats have succeeded in proving is that the President did absolutely nothing wrong,” they argued.

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First Published on Jan 19, 2020 05:37 pm
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