Jamie Raskin: Trump's impeachment defense amounts to 'absurd constitutional arguments'

Pablo Tucker
February 4, 2021

In August, Trump said the only way Democrats could win would be if the election were "rigged,"a ridiculous claim that we rated trousers on Fire".

"President Trump's conduct must be declared unacceptable in the clearest and most unequivocal terms", they wrote. "That mob was incited by former president Donald J. Trump and his political allies, some of whom we pass every day in the hallways at work". Both sides are expected to submit one more round of pretrial briefs on Monday before the trial begins the following day.

FILE - Democratic House impeachment managers stand before entering the Senate Chamber as they deliver to the Senate the article of impeachment alleging incitement of insurrection against former President Donald Trump, in Washington, Jan. 25, 2021.

Mr Trump is just the third president to have been impeached, is the first to be impeached twice and the first to face trial after leaving office. Trump is daring the Republicans in the Senate - as he has all along - to condone his patently false narrative in which he is the victim, his actions are flawless and he is responsible for nothing.

On January 6, supporters of Mr Trump stormed the US Capitol in order to oppose the incoming presidency of Joe Biden.

But impeachment managers argued that Trump's constant promoting of unfounded voter fraud accusations fueled his supporters into backing efforts to overturn the election.

Failure to convict Trump "would embolden future leaders to attempt to retain power by any and all means - and would suggest that there is no line a president can not cross".

Last week, 45 of the 50 Republican senators voted in favour of a failed bid to dismiss the impeachment charge as unconstitutional because Mr Trump has left office. The departed attorneys, according to unnamed sources, refused to commit professional suicide by affirming the Trumpian lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

At least six of the 170 people charged in connection with the Capitol siege have tried to shift at least some of the blame on to Mr Trump as they defend themselves in court or in the court of public opinion.

Throughout the summer, "he insisted at rallies and through social media that if he appeared to lose the election, the only possible explanation was a conspiracy to defraud him and those who supported him", they wrote.

During his Jan 6 speech, Mr Trump repeated false claims that the election was fraudulent and exhorted supporters to march on the Capitol, telling them to "stop the steal", "show strength" and "fight like hell". Trump had urged his followers to attend, promising on Twitter it would be "wild".

"Then he aimed them straight at the Capitol, declaring: 'You'll never take back our country with weakness".

Protesters supporting U.S. President Donald Trump break into the U.S. Capitol on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC.

"Some Members called loved ones for fear that they would not survive the assault by President Trump's insurrectionist mob", the impeachment managers wrote. (He has a legal right to root for worldwide foes to defeat the United States, but it is nevertheless impeachable conduct for the commander in chief to do so.) Furthermore, the First Amendment is inapplicable when it comes to inciting violence. "I do feel honored to represent the [former] president of the United States and the Constitution". But what they don't tell you in that, is ultimately that Secretary of War was acquitted by the U.S. Senate because twenty-four U.S. Senators believed that even though he committed high crimes and misdemeanors, because he was no longer in office, that he could not be impeached.

His argument directly confronts the central argument of the Democratic House managers, who made a point of quoting House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) in their own brief. The Senate held the trial nonetheless.

The House managers argue that there is precedent for holding former office holders responsible for their actions, although none of those instances involved a president. In the 14-page document, the lawyers question the Senate's jurisdiction to try Trump, deny that he incited the Capitol riots, and assert that his statements about the election were protected by the First Amendment. "Since the 45th president is no longer president, the clause "shall be removed from office on impeachment for" ... is impossible for the Senate to accomplish".

The pre-trial brief also noted how rioters stated publicly that they stormed the Capitol at Trump's urging.

"The president exercised his First Amendment right under the Constitution to express his belief that the election results were suspect", the lawyers wrote.

Democrats also rejected the reasoning that Trump can not be tried once out of office.

Other reports by iNewsToday