By Susan Crabtree – RCP
President Trump and his legal team are zeroing in on Democrats’ decision to pursue a broad abuse of power charge against him as the reason for the Senate to “speedily” dismiss the impeachment case getting underway in that chamber Tuesday.
The president’s lawyers on Monday asserted that Trump did “absolutely nothing wrong” regarding military aid for Ukraine, and because he committed no crime, the Democrats’ impeachment articles are both “frivolous” and a “dangerous perversion of the Constitution.” Convicting President Trump would “permanently weaken the presidency and forever alter the balance among the branches of government in a manner that offends the constitutional design established by the founders,” Trump’s lawyers wrote in a 110-page defense.
Trump and his attorneys and allies, including Rudy Giuliani and former acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker (pictured), have long said abuse of power — one of two articles of impeachment the House approved on Dec. 18. — isn’t an impeachable offense because it doesn’t fall into the constitutional requirements for removing a president, a point they continued to drive home in their Monday defense.
“House Democrats were determined from the outset to find some way — any way — to corrupt the extraordinary power of impeachment for use as a political tool to overturn the results of the election to interfere in the 2020 election,” the lawyers wrote in the legal brief. “All of that is a dangerous perversion of the Constitution that the Senate should swiftly and roundly condemn.”
The House Democrats’ case against the president is deeply flawed and breaks historical impeachment precedent, Trump’s lawyers argued, because there is no proof that President Trump tied the security aid to an announcement by Ukraine that it would investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. In fact, no Ukrainian investigation took place and the aid was ultimately delivered, they point out.
The impeachment case is based on “assumption, presumption and speculation from people who had no first-hand knowledge and were relying on hearsay, or double and triple hearsay, which would never be admitted into evidence in any court in this country,” said a source working with Trump’s legal team.
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