President Donald Trump launched his first formal attack on the House’s effort to remove him from office on Saturday, calling the Democrats’ impeachment case against him fatally flawed and “constitutionally invalid” while blasting the effort as a political hit job by his adversaries.
“This is a brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election and interfere with the 2020 election — now just months away,” Trump’s lawyers argued in a six-page response filed with the Senate just days before the president’s trial begins in earnest.
The allegations raised by Trump’s attorneys — a soft swing at the substance of the impeachment articles and a more direct rebuke of the process Democrats used to get there — mirror the House’s charges against him. Democrats allege the president pressured Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election on his behalf by launching investigations into his political opponents.
Saturday’s filing from Trump marks his initial entry into the impeachment battle. The president and his lawyers had explicitly sat out the House investigation, complaining in a December letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that “more due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials.”
But that approach won’t fly in the Senate, where Chief Justice John Roberts last week outlined a detailed schedule of separate legal filings for both sides of the debate. Trump’s initial reply will be followed by a more exhaustive trial brief from his lawyers that’s due on Monday.
In its first filing, the Trump legal team hammered what it calls “procedural irregularities” in the House’s impeachment process and the decision by Democrats not to accuse the president of committing a statutory crime — a threshold that constitutional scholars have long said isn’t a necessity when Congress seeks to remove a federal officeholder.
“In the end, this entire process is nothing more than a dangerous attack on the American people themselves and their fundamental right to vote,” the Trump legal filing says. Read more