Trump Lawyers To Argue Impeachment Trial Is Unconstitutional, Deny He Played Role In Capitol Violence

Former President Donald Trump’s team of lawyers filed their brief on Tuesday, ahead of his Senate impeachment trial next week, as reported by the Associated Press. As Trump faces accusations of inciting a deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 in an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election over unfounded fraudulent claims, his lawyers deny he played a role in the day’s events and that the trial is unconstitutional.

The brief is the public’s first glimpse of the strategy Trump’s new defense team will employ in the trial. David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor Jr. were only hired over the weekend following a shake-up prompted by a dispute between the former president and his original lawyers. According to a report by Al Jazeera, the dispute was caused over the defense’s strategy.

Schoen previously hinted at the team’s roadmap for the trial, telling The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that they had no plans to debate the results of the election or push any of Trump’s false claims of fraud. Instead, they planned to argue the unconstitutionality of the trial due to the fact that he has already left the office and is currently a private citizen, while asserting that his comments and claims were protected by the First Amendment and didn’t reach the standard of inciting a riot.

During an appearance on Fox News, Schoen described the trial as “the most ill-advised legislative action that I’ve seen in my lifetime” and unnecessarily divisive.

Schoen and Castor Jr.’s strategy drew support from some Republicans, with Texas Sen. John Cornyn agreeing that not including an argument on fraud is acceptable as they are “really not material” to the charge.

“I think it would be a disservice to the president’s own defense to get bogged down in things that really aren’t before the Senate,” said Cornyn.

Meanwhile, House Democrats have also filed their brief, accusing him of aiming his supporters “like a loaded cannon” at the Capitol in their argument to convict Trump and bar him from holding a future office. They connected Trump’s constant legal efforts and insistent false claims of election fraud to the violence at the Capitol, which left five dead. It went on to blame his actions for directly undermining American democracy and described scenes from the day of “terrified Members were trapped in the Chamber” who called loved ones “for fear they would not survive.”

Trump is the first president to be impeached twice in American history. Following his impeachment in 2020 over improper calls to the president of Ukraine, Trump was acquitted in his Senate trial.

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