Former President Donald J. Trump Tuesday, through his attorneys Bruce L. Castor, Jr. and David Schoen, responded to the article of impeachment against him, for which he faces a trial in the U.S. Senate.
The 45th president was accused of “inciting an insurrection” over the mostly peaceful protests at the Capitol Building on January 6.
Trump’s first defense is a simple one: he is no longer the president, and thus, cannot be removed from office.
“The Constitution provides that the House of Representatives ‘shall have the sole Power of Impeachment’ and that the President ‘shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors,’” Trump’s defense said.
“It is denied that the quoted provision currently applies to the 45th President of the United States since he is no longer ‘President,’” it continues. “The constitutional provision requires that a person actually hold office to be impeached. Since the 45th President is no longer ‘President,’ the clause ‘shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for…’ is impossible for the Senate to accomplish, and thus the current proceeding before the Senate is void ab initio as a legal nullity that runs patently contrary to the plain language of the Constitution.”
Trump’s lawyers are also arguing that even if he is convicted by the Senate, it would not bar him from holding the office of the presidency again. That serves as first public acknowledgment that Trump might be interested in running for president again in 2024, which has been widely speculated.
The defense also denies that Trump “engaged in an insurrection or rebellion against the United States,” and denies that he ever violated his oath office.
Much of the defense also focuses on the language Trump used in a speech just before the mostly peaceful protestors entered the Capitol building.
For example, it argues that Trump telling his supporters to “fight like hell, otherwise you’re not going to have a country anymore,” was clearly meant in a general sense, and not as a directive to his supporters to seize the Capitol.
Read the full defense below:
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