House Democrats responded to arguments from President Donald Trump’s legal team in a new brief Tuesday.
The seven House impeachment managers who’ll present the lower chamber’s argument in the Senate described the President’s team’s briefing as raising “baseless objections.” They also said Trump didn’t appear eager to defend his actions.
“It is clear from his response that President Trump would rather discuss anything other than what he actually did,” the brief read.
Trump’s legal team, led by White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow, opened a lengthy brief on impeachment Monday by asserting that “abuse of power,” the first charge levied against Trump, was “a made-up theory that would permanently weaken the Presidency.”
But Democrats pointed out that even the Republicans’ legal analyst of choice, Jonathan Turley, disagreed. In congressional testimony, Turley argued that the “other high crimes and misdemeanors” listed in the Constitution apply to impeachable acts “even if they are not technically criminal acts.”
The Democrats’ brief took further issue with Trump’s team’s claim that barring witnesses from testifying was a “legitimate prerogative” of the Executive Branch.
“His across-the-board refusal to provide Congress with information and his assertion that his own lawyers are the sole judges of Presidential privilege undermines the constitutional authority of the people’s representatives and shifts power to an imperial president,” they wrote.
Much of the brief was similar to House impeachment managers’ earlier brief, filed Saturday.
But with the impeachment kicking off in earnest Tuesday, the new document carried a little more punch than the legal salvos launched over the weekend.
“Indeed, on the eve of his impeachment trial, President Trump continues to insist that he has done nothing wrong,” the brief read. “President Trump’s view that he cannot be held accountable, except in an election he seeks to fix in his favor, underscores the need for the Senate to exercise its solemn constitutional duty to remove President Trump from office.”
Read Democrats’ brief below: