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Trump legal team responds to article of impeachment – here’s what they said

President Donald J. Trump at the 450th mile of the new border wall, Jan. 12, 2021, near the Texas Mexico border. (Shealah Craighead/White House)
February 02, 2021

Former President Donald Trump’s legal team responded to the articles of impeachment against him in a statement Tuesday, asking the Senate to acquit the former president because attempting to remove a former president from office is a violation of the Constitution, they allege.

“The Senate of the United States lacks jurisdiction over the 45th President because he holds no public office from which he can be removed, and the Constitution limits the authority of the Senate in cases of impeachment to removal from office as the prerequisite active remedy allowed the Senate under our Constitution,” the statement said.

On January 6, a protest at the Capitol building turned violent following a speech from President Trump during which he said, “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building, to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”

Since then, top Democrats have accused Trump of inciting an insurrection against the federal government, ultimately impeaching him in the House for the second time.  

The article of impeachment alleged that the former president “engaged in high Crimes and Misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States.”

“In the months preceding the Joint Session, President Trump repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the Presidential election results were the product of widespread fraud and should not be accepted by the American people or certified by State or Federal officials,” the article stated, later adding that Trump “threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power and imperiled a coequal branch government.”

President Trump denied the incitement allegations in his statement, noting that Democrats questioned and challenged election results in 2017 after Trump won.  

“…the 45th President of the United States performed admirably in his role as president, at all times doing what he thought was in the best interests of the American people,” Trump’s response said. “The 45th President believes and therefore avers that in the United States, the people choose their President, and that he was properly chosen in 2016 and sworn into office in 2017, serving his term to the best of his ability in comportment with his oath of office.”

Further, Trump’s attorneys claimed the second article of impeachment violated the former president’s right to free speech, in addition to his right to due process.

“The House of Representatives deprived the 45th President of due process of law in rushing to issue the Article of Impeachment by ignoring it own procedures and precedents going back to the mid-19th century,” the statement said, noting the House’s failure to conduct committee review or investigation, as well as its failure to hold “any full and fair discussion by allowing the 45th President’s positions to be heard in the House Chamber.”

Trump’s second impeachment trial is set to begin on February 8. While the former president’s 2020 impeachment trial lasted three weeks, the second trial’s length is unknown and will depend on witnesses and questioning.