Democratic MPs formally presented the arguments for the impeachment of Donald Trump on Tuesday. A week before the start of the Senate trial, they accuse the former president of “treason of historic proportions” for inflating a crowd “like a loaded cannon” in the US Congress on January 6.
In the 70-page petition, lawmakers say the American people must be protected “from a president who causes violence to overthrow our democracy.”
“If provoking an insurgent riot against a joint session of Congress after losing an election is not an imputable crime, it’s hard to imagine what it would be,” the letter said. “If it is not condemned […] I would say there is no line that a president cannot cross.
In the first official response to the charges, Trump’s attorneys Bruce L. Castor Jr. and David Schoen denied being responsible for the Capitol invasion and attempting to interfere with the formalization of Joe Biden’s victory by the Congress.
According to them, the ex-president’s speech to supporters shortly before the attack was protected by the right to free speech – on this occasion, the Republican urged supporters to march to Capitol Hill, telling them to “show strength” and to “fight for worth”.
The unrest interrupted the session of Congress and left five people dead.
For lawyers, Trump’s words did not refer to violent action, but addressed the “need to fight for electoral security.”
On January 13, Trump became the first US president to pass two indictments in the House – the House had already passed another trial in 2019, but he was later cleared by the Senate, while no Republican did not. voted against the then president.
Now the action must also be approved by more than two-thirds (67 senators out of 100) of parliamentarians – in recent weeks some of them have criticized the president, but it is not clear whether there is enough dissenters for approval.
As Trump is already out of the White House, the lawsuit aims to suppress political rights and prevent him from running for president again. In the United States, revocation provides for two penalties: loss of office and prohibition of the defendant from returning to federal office, the latter depending on a simple majority vote, also in the Senate, after conviction.
But precisely because Trump’s tenure ended before the start of the Senate trial, Trump’s lawyers also said on Tuesday that the House did not have the power to try him as a private citizen on impeachment. The same argument is used by Republican lawmakers opposed to the process.
In an interview with Fox News on Monday (1st), Schoen called the process “completely unconstitutional”.
“I think it is also the most reckless legislative move I have ever seen in my life,” he said. “It is destroying the country at a time when we don’t need anything like that.”
In their petition, Democrats rejected this argument and said the Senate had jurisdiction to try Trump because the House passed impeachment while he was still in office for acts he committed when he was president. .
“There is no ‘January exception’ or any other provision in the constitution,” Democrats said, referring to the date that marks the end of the presidential term, January 20. “Presidents do not have a free pass to commit serious crimes and misdemeanors towards the end of their term.”
On Tuesday, a group of Republicans refuted the argument that the lawsuit was unconstitutional in a published open letter. “It is essential to focus the nation on the seriousness of what Trump has done,” the text says.
The signatories include former governors Christine Todd Whitman of New Jersey and William Weld of Massachusetts, as well as Carter Phillips, a Washington veteran who served as deputy attorney general to former President Ronald Reagan.
“It will be a permanent stain on the history of the Republican Party and the legacy of its members in the Senate if they cannot find a way to hold a party chairman accountable.”
Initiated by the Democratic bench, the call for Trump’s impeachment is based on the speech inciting insurgency and violence, but also cites the former president’s efforts to subvert the election he has. lost, like the appeal to Georgia’s secretary of state, who asked him to “come up with votes” to change the outcome, in addition to repeated claims that Biden’s victory was the result of fraud.