President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks at his Black Voices for Trump rally Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
On Saturday evening, President Trump’s Defense Team submitted the official White House “Answer” to the Senate impeachment trial summons. They will also be submitting a “trial brief” before 5 pm on Monday.
The six page document can be viewed here.
The President’s lawyers wrote that “the Articles of Impeachment submitted by House Democrats 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. The highly partisan and reckless obsession with impeaching the President began the day he was inaugurated and continues to this day.”
The document states that “the Articles of Impeachment are constitutionally invalid on their face” and in fact, “are an affront to the Constitution, our democratic institutions, and the American people.”
The lawyers were very critical, for good reason, of the “House’s handling of the impeachment inquiry. The House process violated every precedent and every principle of fairness.”
The first Article, abuse of power, the document states “must be rejected” and the lawyers present an outline consisting of four reasons which will be fleshed out in the upcoming trial brief. “It alleges no crimes at all, let alone high Crimes and Misdemeanors, as required by the Constitution. In fact, it alleges no violation.”
1. The transcripts of both the April 21 call and the July 25 call make absolutely clear that the President did nothing wrong.
2. The President and other Ukrainian officials have repeatedly confirmed that the call was good and normal, that there was no quid pro quo, and that no one pressured them on anything.
3. The two individuals who have stated for the record that they spoke to the President about the subject actually exonerate him.
4. The bilateral presidential meeting took place in the ordinary course, and the security assistance was sent, all without the Ukrainian government announcing any investigations.
Summary of first article:
House Democrats ran a fundamentally flawed and illegitimate process that denied the President every basic right, including the right to have counsel present, the right to cross examine witnesses, and the right to present evidence. Despite all this, the information House Democrats assembled actually disproves their claims against the President. The President acted at all times with full constitutional and legal authority and in our national interest. He continued his Administration’s policy of unprecedented support for Ukraine, including the delivery of lethal military aid that was denied to the Ukrainians by the prior administration. The first Article is therefore constitutionally invalid, founded on falsehoods, and must be rejected.
The second Article, which is the most ridiculous of the two, “also fails on its face to state an impeachable offense. It does not allege any crime or violation of law whatsoever. To the contrary, the President’s assertion of legitimate Executive Branch confidentiality interests grounded in the separation of powers cannot constitute obstruction of Congress.”
In summary, “The House may not usurp Executive Branch authority and may not bypass our Constitution’s system of checks and balances. Asserting valid constitutional privileges and immunities cannot be an impeachable offense. The second Article is therefore invalid and must be rejected.”
The Articles of Impeachment violate the Constitution. They are defective in their entirety. They are the product of invalid proceedings that flagrantly denied the President any due process rights. They rest on dangerous distortions of the Constitution that would do lasting damage to our structure of government, violated our constitutional order, illegally abused its power of impeachment, and attempted to obstruct President Trump’s ability to faithfully execute the duties of his Office. They sought to undermine his authority under Article II of the Constitution, which vests the entirety of [t]he executive Power in “a President of the United States of America.”
In order to preserve our constitutional structure of government, to reject the poisonous partisanship that the Framers warned against, to ensure one party political impeachment vendettas do not become the new normal, and to vindicate the will of the American people, the Senate must reject both Articles of Impeachment. 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 House impeachment managers filed their “trial brief” on Saturday which can be viewed here.