Former President Donald Trump’s legal team demanded that the Senate dismiss the single article of impeachment against Trump a day before his trial is set to begin.
David Schoen and Bruce Castor, who are representing the former president in the Senate trial set to begin on Tuesday, filed a 78-page brief further laying out Trump’s defense and pushing for the Senate to dismiss the trial as “unconstitutional.”
“The Article of Impeachment presented by the House is unconstitutional for a variety of reasons, any of which alone would be grounds for immediate dismissal. Taken together, they demonstrate conclusively that indulging House Democrats’ hunger for this political theater is a danger to our Republic[an] democracy and the rights that we hold dear,” the lawyers wrote.
Their case for Trump’s defense hinges on seven points outlined in the conclusion of the document:
1. The Senate of the United States lacks jurisdiction over the 45th President because he holds no public office from which he can be removed, and the Constitution limits the authority of the Senate in cases of impeachment to removal from office as the prerequisite active remedy allowed the Senate under our Constitution.
2. The Senate of the United States lacks jurisdiction over the 45th President because he holds no public office from which he can be removed rendering the Article of Impeachment moot and a non-justiciable question.
3. Should the Senate act on the Article of Impeachment initiated in the House of Representatives, it will have passed a Bill of Attainder in violation of Article 1, Sec. 9. Cl. 3 of the United States Constitution.
4. The allegations in the Article of Impeachment are self-evidently wrong, as demonstrated by the evidence including the transcript of the President’s actual speech, and the allegations fail to meet the constitutional standard for any crime, let alone an impeachable offense.
5. The House of Representatives deprived the 45th President of due process of law in rushing to issue the Article of Impeachment and by ignoring its own procedures and precedents going back to the mid-19th century. The lack of due process included, but was not limited to, its failure to conduct any meaningful committee review or other investigation, engage in any full and fair consideration of evidence in support of the Article, as well as the failure to conduct any full and fair discussion by allowing the 45th President’s positions to be heard in the House Chamber. No exigent circumstances under the law were present excusing the House of Representatives’ rush to judgment, as evidenced by the fact that they then held the Article for another 12 days.
6. The Article of Impeachment violates the 45th President’s right to free speech and thought guaranteed under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
7. The Article is constitutionally flawed in that it charges multiple instances of allegedly impeachable conduct in a single article.
Forty-five Republicans have already signaled their opposition to the trial, which they see as unconstitutional because Trump is no longer president. Their opposition makes the chance of the Senate convicting Trump unlikely. House managers would have to convince a dozen of those Republicans, along with the five who do not believe the trial to be unconstitutional, to side with the Democrats in order to win a conviction.