House managers reject Trump impeachment brief
The nine Democrats who will present the case against Donald Trump in the Senate impeachment trial which will start this week have dismissed the brief filed by the ex-president’s legal team.
“The evidence of President Trump’s conduct is overwhelming,” the House Democrats wrote, in a document signed by lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin, a professor of constitutional law as well as a representative from Maryland.
“He has no valid excuse or defense for his actions. And his efforts to escape accountability are entirely unavailing. As charged in the article of impeachment, President Trump violated his oath of office and betrayed the American people.”
The managers say Trump’s incitement of the insurrection at the US Capitol on 6 January, which left five people dead, is “the most grievous constitutional crime ever committed by a president”.
In a paragraph for history lovers everywhere, meanwhile, the managers reject Republican claims that an impeachment trial after Trump has left office is unconstitutional. And in doing so, they cite a president – who died as a member of the House – who tends to be a little eclipsed in popular memory by Andrew Jackson, a president briefly fetishised by Trump:
The framers’ intent, the text of the constitution, and prior congressional practice all confirm that President Trump must stand trial for his constitutional crimes committed in office. Presidents swear a sacred oath that binds them from their first day in office through their very last. There is no ‘January Exception’ to the constitution that allows presidents to abuse power in their final days without accountability. As former president John Quincy Adams declared, “I hold myself, so long as I have the breath of life in my body, amenable to impeachment by [the] House for everything I did during the time I held any public office.”
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