President Donald Trumps attorneys called on the U.S. Senate to dismiss the articles of impeachment sent by the House and immediately acquit the president, calling the charges against the commander in chief a “brazen political act” that must be rejected.
In a trial memorandum released by the White House a day before the start of the third impeachment trial in U.S. history, the presidents attorneys argue that the articles of impeachment fail to state an impeachable offense and are the result of an “unconstitutional process” executed by House Democrats.
The articles are structurally deficient, the attorneys say, because each includes more than one alleged offense, making it impossible for senators to vote on isolated charges based on the evidence presented. The same issue had previously caused some senators to vote for acquittal during the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton.
“The Articles of Impeachment presented by House Democrats are constitutionally deficient on their face,” the trial memo states. “The theories underpinning them would do lasting damage to the separation of powers under the Constitution and to our structure of government.”
House Democrats detailed their case for removing the president in a legal brief on Jan. 18. They allege that Trump abused the power of his office by withholding foreign aid from Ukraine in order to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open investigations into Trumps political rivals, including former Vice President Joe Biden.
“The facts are indisputable, and the evidence is overwhelming: President Trump abused the power of his office to solicit foreign interference in our elections for his own personal political gain, thereby jeopardizing our national security, the integrity of our elections, and our democracy. And when the president got caught, he tried to cover it up by obstructing the Houses investigation into his misconduct,” the Democrats allege.
Trumps attorneys assert that the House impeachment inquiry failed to produce a single witness who claims to have firsthand knowledge of Trump conditioning the release of military aid or a White House meeting with Zelensky on Ukraine announcing investigations. The charges in the article alleging abuse of power also rely on a “theory” by the Democrats that there was no legitimate reason for Trump to ask Zelensky about interference in the 2016 presidential election and the controversy surrounding Bidens son Hunter Biden and Ukrainian gas firm Burisma.
Kyivs involvement in the 2016 U.S. election is outlined in an investigative report by Politico, titled “Ukrainian Efforts to Sabotage Trump Backfire.” Trumps interest in Hunter Biden, meanwhile, stems in part from a recording in which Joe Biden brags about forcing the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor by withholding $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees from Ukraine. Prior to his firing, the prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, had seized the assets of the owner of Burisma.
At the same time, Hunter Biden received as much as $83,000 a month to serve on Burismas board of directors.
Trumps attorneys argue that the president was well within his constitutional authority to inquire about election meddling and potential corruption.
“Uncovering potential foreign interference in U.S. elections is always a legitimate goal, whatever the source of the interference and whether or not it fits with Democrats preferred narrative about 2016,” the memorandum states. “It also would have been legitimate to mention the Biden–Burisma affair.”
Trump has repeatedly indicated that he would preferRead More – Source