Trump's lawyers accuse the House of trying to overturn the 2016 election

Win McNamee  Getty Images

Getty Images

Trump's legal team on January 18 issued a fiery response to the Democrats ahead of opening arguments in the trial, calling the two articles passed by the House last month "a risky attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their president".

"In their brief, the House managers overseeing the prosecution wrote that it is clear that the "'evidence overwhelmingly establishes" that Trump is guilty of both charges for which he was impeached last month: "abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The politically polarising impeachment case involves Mr Trump's attempt to persuade Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden past year.

Whether witnesses appear in the Senate trial has been a point of tension among Democrats and Republicans following last month's House vote to impeach President Trump, though some Republicans have said they want witnesses to appear.

His lawyers, in his document, argued that Trump acted at all times with full constitutional legal authority, said one of the three sources close to Trump's legal team that informed reporters at a conference call on Saturday.

"Trump.pdf" target="_blank">legal team filed its formal response Saturday evening to the Senate summons of the President, offering the first glimpse into what will ultimately be the White House's impeachment defense.

On Saturday, US lawmakers managing the Senate removal trial filed a brief laying out their arguments supporting charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress against the US president.

"The impeachment articles are constitutionally invalid at first sight", said the response.

House Democrats on Saturday released their argument for why President Donald Trump should be removed from office by the Senate in the upcoming impeachment trial.




"The articles of impeachment submitted by House Democrats are a unsafe attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their president", the document says.

"And when the president was caught, he tried to hide it by obstructing the House's investigation of his misconduct".

The Trump team, meanwhile, called the Senate's formal impeachment summons to the two articles of impeachment "a unsafe attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their president".

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said the House managers appointed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) would get a "couple of days" to present their initial case, while Senator Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) acknowledged that the idea was under discussion.

Although the articles of impeachment don't rely on evidence from Mueller's report, the House managers drew parallels between Trump's behavior in the two episodes. Lindsay Graham, a Republican from SC and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has also said that the rules of reciprocity should apply in the impeachment trial, The Hill said. "They must be rejected", the White House said. The stakes are enormous, with historic influence on the fate of Trump's presidency, the 2020 presidential and congressional elections and the future of any presidential impeachments.

Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican who has publicly sparred with Trump in the past, said he would vote to allow senators to call witnesses in the trial.

Dershowitz, who described himself as a liberal Democrat who voted against Trump, said if he makes his argument persuasively, the issue of abuse of power won't even emerge in the Senate trial.

Trump is the third USA president to be impeached.

Latest News