Donald Trump's legal team quits a week before his second impeachment trial
Feb 03 2021
House Democrats on Tuesday are expected to make their case for convicting former President Donald Trump on a single article of "incitement of insurrection" in connection with the January 6 Capitol riot in a pre-trial brief submitted to the Senate - arguing that the chamber's action is needed to prevent him from holding elected office in the future.
That's a contrast from his first impeachment trial, when Trump's high-profile team of attorneys included Alan Dershowitz, one of the best-known criminal defense lawyers in the country, as well as White House counsel Pat Cipollone, and Jay Sekulow, who has argued cases before the Supreme Court. "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", Trump's team wrote. The lawyers wrote this sentence as part of the argument that the House robbed Trump of his due process in its haste to impeach him.
A number of attorneys who represented Trump at his 2020 impeachment trial for trying to pressure Ukraine to investigate Biden, then a rival for the presidency, have declined the job this time, including constitutional law expert Alan Dershowitz.
That claim, despite there being no evidence to support it, propelled the violent assault on the US Capitol that forced Trump's vice president Mike Pence to go into secure hiding and left hundreds of members of Congress fearing for their safety.
Many experts believe that presidents who commit misconduct late in their terms should not be immune from the very process the Constitution created for holding them accountable.
But impeachment managers argued that Trump's constant promoting of the unfounded accusations that the election was stolen fueled his supporters into backing efforts to overturn the election.
And House Republican Caucus Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) simply said that "there has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution".
They allege that Trump fostered sedition by stoking the January 6 attack on the Capitol, which left five people dead and halted, for several hours, Congress' certification of Biden as the election victor.
"He summoned a mob to Washington, exhorted them into a frenzy, and aimed them like a loaded cannon down Pennsylvania Avenue". But they are not expected to win enough Republican votes to secure Trump's conviction.
Some Democrats and Republicans have suggested the Senate should reprimand Trump, rather than convict him.
With the trial's February 9 start date looming, Reuters reported Monday that the House Democrats in charge of impeachment proceedings in the Senate are expected to announce whether or not they will call witnesses by as early as Tuesday.
Trump's team had initially announced that Butch Bowers, a SC lawyer, would lead his legal team after an introduction from Republican Sen.
Luttig has said that the text and objective of the Constitution make clear that the Senate's power is limited to convicting a sitting president. It not only explicitly faults him for his role in the riot but also aims to preemptively rebut defence claims that Trump's words were somehow protected by the First Amendment or that an impeachment trial is unconstitutional, or even unnecessary, now that Trump has left the White House.
"It will be a permanent stain on the history of the Republican Party and the legacy of its members in the US Senate if they fail to find a way to hold a president of their party to account for this unprecedented mayhem at our nation's Capitol", the group wrote.