WASHINGTON: Lawyers for Donald Trump on Monday blasted the impeachment case against him as an act of “political theatre” and accused House Democrats on the eve of the former president’s trial of exploiting the chaos of last month’s Capitol riot.
Trump’s legal brief is a wide-ranging attack on the House case, foreshadowing the claims his lawyers intend to present on the same Senate floor that was invaded by rioters on January 6. The tone, with accusations that Democrats are making “patently absurd” arguments and trying to “silence a political opponent”, makes clear that Trump lawyers are preparing to challenge both the constitutionality of the trial and any suggestion that he was to blame for the insurrection. In their brief, they suggest that Trump was simply exercising his first amendment rights when he disputed the election results and argue that he explicitly encouraged his supporters to have a peaceful protest and therefore cannot be responsible for the actions of the rioters. They also say the Senate is not entitled to try Trump now that he has left office.
US House of Representatives impeachment managers said on Monday that evidence against Trump is overwhelming and he has no defence for his actions. The trial will begin on Tuesday with a debate and vote on whether it’s even constitutional to prosecute the former president.