Trump lawyers blast Democrats before impeachment trial, deny he incited Capitol riot

US President Donald Trump’s supporters gather outside the Capitol building, January 6, 2021.
Probal Rashid | LightRocket | Getty Images

Lawyers for Donald Trump on Monday denied that he incited the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol and accused Democrats of “political opportunism” in a fiery brief submitted a day before Trump’s historic second impeachment trial was set to begin.

Trump’s three lawyers argued in the 78-page brief that the trial itself, which comes nearly three weeks after President Joe Biden was sworn into office, is unconstitutional and must be quickly dismissed.

“Indulging House Democrats hunger for this political theater is a danger to our Republic democracy and the rights that we hold dear,” the lawyers wrote.

The legal memo aggressively pushes back on the case laid out last week by Democratic House impeachment managers, which aimed to establish that Trump is “personally responsible” for provoking the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol by a mob of his supporters.

If convicted, Democrats vow to ban Trump from ever holding federal office again.

But Democrats are unlikely to convince two thirds of the Senate, which is divided 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats, to vote to convict Trump. Before the trial began, all but five Republican senators voted to dismiss it on the grounds that it was unconstitutional to convict a president after he has left office.

Trump’s lawyers fleshed out that argument in their brief. “The Senate is being asked to do something patently ridiculous,” the lawyers wrote. “Try a private citizen in a process that is designed to remove him from an office that he no longer holds.”

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