“He summoned a crowd to Washington, urged them into a frenzy, and pointed them like a loaded cannon down Pennsylvania Avenue,” the officials wrote.
Unlike the first impeachment case against Mr. Trump, which centered on his lobbying campaign on Ukraine, this one enjoys bipartisan backing and prosecutors seem willing to frequently use Republicans’ own criticisms at the respect for Mr. Trump. Their brief cited Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, one of 10 House Republicans who voted for impeachment, as well as Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Minority Leader, who publicly stated that Mr. Trump “ had provoked ”the crowd.
In making constitutional arguments for Mr. Trump’s conviction, however, they went back hundreds of years, arguing that Mr. Trump not only instigated violence, but threatened the tradition of the peaceful transfer of power that had begun. by Washington. They also cited the founders’ debates over who would be arraigned and when, as well as a 19th-century impeachment trial of a former secretary of war, to argue that the Senate clearly had the right to judge Mr. Trump even after his departure. Office.
“There is no ‘January exception’ to impeachment or any other provision of the Constitution,” the leaders wrote. “A president must be fully accountable for his conduct in office from his first day in office until his last.
They also insisted that the First Amendment right to free speech could not protect Mr. Trump from responsibility for inciting violence that would seek to undermine the Constitution, undermining all rights that are devoted to it, including freedom of expression.
The President’s brief was smaller by design, with a longer and more detailed brief from his lawyers early next week. Yet the contours of their defense were becoming clear.
Lawyers said Democrats misinterpreted Mr Trump’s actions and intent, denying he was responsible for the Capitol riot or intended to interfere with the formalization by Congress of Mr. Biden’s victory. They said his words to supporters on January 6 – “if you don’t fight like hell you would have no country” – were not meant to be a call to violent action, but concerned “the necessity to fight for electoral security in general. “