Trump lawyers go on attack

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 20 Jan 2020

President Donald Trump's legal team presented its line of defense for his upcoming impeachment trial - a process that members dismissed as unconstitutional and "dangerous."

It was the first time the team has presented its arguments, which are modeled on those put forward since December by Trump and his fellow Republicans.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone will be lead lawyer, backed by Trump personal attorney Jay Sekulow. They will be joined by Ken Starr, who was at the center of Bill Clinton's impeachment in the 1990s, and celebrity lawyer Alan Dershowitz.

In an initial response to the president's being charged, the defense said the articles of impeachment - passed by the majority-Democrat House of Representatives - "are a dangerous attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their president.

"This is a brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election and interfere with the 2020 election," they wrote.

Trump has been impeached on charges he abused his office to try and force Ukraine into digging up dirt on leading Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden by withholding military aid and a White House meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart President Volodymyr Zelensky. He was also impeached for obstructing Congress.

"The articles of impeachment are constitutionally invalid on their face," the defense team argued. "They fail to allege any crime or violation of law whatsoever."

The house managers, or prosecutors in the impeachment trial, filed their official brief on Saturday, saying Trump's conduct "is the framers' worst nightmare," referring to the authors of the constitution.

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