House members picked by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to prosecute the impeachment case against former President Donald Trump intend to argue that Trump is “singularly responsible” for the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
The team of House impeachment managers filed an 80-page brief on Tuesday laying out their case to convince the Senate to convict Trump of inciting the Jan. 6 riot. The House impeached Trump last month with all Democrats in favor and all but 10 Republicans against.
“President Trump may assert that this impeachment reflects ‘cancel culture’ or some supposed intolerance of his right to voice objections to the election results. That would be a red herring. President Trump endangered the very constitutional system that protects all other rights, including freedom of expression,” the brief says. “It would be perverse to suggest that our shared commitment to free speech requires the Senate to ignore the obvious: that President Trump is singularly responsible for the violence and destruction that unfolded in our seat of government on January 6.”
Dozens of Republicans in the Senate have signaled that they will resist convicting Trump on the grounds that they believe the impeachment trial against him is unconstitutional because he is no longer a “sitting president.” The House managers plan to argue that the Senate has jurisdiction in the case because Trump was impeached while in office.
“President Trump is personally responsible for inciting an armed attack on our seat of government that imperiled the lives of the Vice President, Members of Congress and our families, and those who staff and serve the Legislative Branch,” the brief says. “If the Senate does not try President Trump (and convict him) it risks declaring to all future Presidents that there will be no consequences, no accountability, indeed no Congressional response at all if they violate their Oath to ‘preserve, protect and defend the Constitution’ in their final weeks — and instead provoke lethal violence in a lawless effort to retain power.”
The managers go on to argue that, while Trump cannot be removed from office, his conviction is necessary to bar him from ever holding public office in the future.
“President Trump’s incitement of insurrection requires his conviction and disqualification from future federal officeholding,” the brief says. “This is not a case where elections alone are a sufficient safeguard against future abuse; it is the electoral process itself that President Trump attacked and that must be protected from him and anyone else who would seek to mimic his behavior.”
Trump gave a speech before a crowd of supporters prior to the riot at the Capitol in which he urged protesters to “peacefully” march to the Capitol.
“I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard,” Trump said at the time. “Today, we will see whether Republicans stand strong for integrity of our elections.”