Former President Donald Trump’s legal team on Tuesday, Feb. 2, gave a series of answers to the Democrat-led impeachment to explain that the Senate lacks jurisdiction to remove him because he does not hold office. They requested the Senate acquit him on the merits of the allegations raised in the impeachment article.
Trump’s response came after the House impeachment managers earlier on Tuesday released their impeachment brief, laying out their arguments for impeaching the former president after he had left office.
In a document sent to the Senate members, Trump’s defense lawyers provided eights answers to all of the Democrats’ accusations against him, which the lawyers said they “denied in part as not relevant to any matter properly before the Senate.”
In the first answer, the lawyers argued that Trump cannot be impeached or removed from office because “the 45th President is no longer ‘President.”
In the second answer, the legal team denied that the former president engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States, which is prohibited by the Constitution.
In the third answer, the lawyers shot back at the Democrats’ impeachment article which accused the 45th president of violating his constitutional oath of office. “To the contrary, at all times, Donald J. Trump fully executed his duties as President of the United States, and at all times acted to the best of his ability to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, while never engaging in any high Crimes or Misdemeanors.”
In the fourth answer, which is given to the accusation that the former president repeatedly issued false statements about the Nov. 3 election, Trump’s lawyers argued that he just “exercised his First Amendment right under the Constitution to express his belief that the election results were suspect” as states election laws and procedures were changed by local politicians or judges without the necessary approvals from state legislatures.
In the fifth answer, the lawyers also explained that the former president has the right under the First Amendment to express his opinion that the election results were suspect when he claimed “We won this election.”
In the sixth answer, the defense lawyers denied that Trump incited the crowd to engage in violent, destructive, and seditious acts because “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 as it was clearly about the need to fight for election security in general, as evidenced by the recording of the speech.” The legal team also denied that Trump intended to interfere in the electoral votes.
In the seventh answer, the lawyers denied that Trump made any effort to subvert the certification of the election results though his phone call with Brad Raffensperger, which the Democrats claimed that the former president threatened the Georgia secretary of state. “President Trump was expressing his opinion that if the evidence was carefully examined one would ‘find that you have many that aren’t even signed and you have many that are forgeries.’”
In the eighth answer, the legal team denied that Trump endangered the country’s security and its institutions of government, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, or betrayed his trust as president. “Rather, 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.” They said that Trump 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.
With those arguments, Trump’s lawyers averred that the House’s impeachment article is “facially and substantively flawed and otherwise unconstitutional, and must be dismissed with prejudice.”
The lawyers said the Senate lacks jurisdiction over the former president because he holds no public office, so they requested the senators acquit him.