Democrats, Trump offer duelling arguments on impeachment

Ken Starr wearing a suit and tie Kenneth W. Starr investigated President Bill Clinton and wrote the report that led to his impeachment

Ken Starr, Alan Dershowitz To Join Donald Trump’s Legal Team For Impeachment Trial

(AP Photo/ Evan Vucci).

The filing states that Trump was mistreated by House Democrats during their investigation.

Trump was impeached by the House on one count each of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, file).

The White House in Washington, on January 14, 2020.

US President Donald Trump's legal team has given its first formal response to the impeachment charges against him, describing the case as a "dangerous attack" on democracy.

Mr. Dershowitz, professor emeritus at Harvard Law School, countered in a separate interview by citing the argument made by then-Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Curtis during the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson in 1868. Their challenge will be to make a case that appeals to the 100 senators who will render the verdict and for an American public bracing for a presidential election in 10 months.

Trump is accused of abusing his office to try to force Ukraine to dig up the main Democratic presidential candidate, and rival, Joe Biden, withholding $ 400 million in military aid and a White House meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The impeachment process risks doing "lasting damage to our structure of government", she said. The Senate goes into closed session during the impeachment trial because senators are jurors and are not allowed to speak during the trial.

In the six-page filing, lawyers for Trump say the articles are unconstitutional and that Trump "did nothing wrong".

"If you vote against Hunter Biden, you're voting to lose your election, basically".

"And when the president was caught, he tried to hide it by obstructing the House's investigation of his misconduct".

"President Trump categorically and unequivocally denies each and every allegation in both articles of impeachment", Mr Pat Cipollone, White House counsel, and Mr Jay Sekulow, Mr Trump's personal lawyer, wrote.

That is vastly unlikely, given a Republican party aligned behind the president and a Senate leadership openly in lockstep with the White House. An official working on the House impeachment dismissed that response as more like a fundraising email from the Trump reelection campaign - a political defense more than a legal one.

They include former national security adviser John Bolton and Trump acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

With Republicans controlling the Senate 53-47, they can set the trial rules - or any four Republicans could join with Democrats to change course.

"What we do this week and what we hear and what are the facts that we hear will probably meet the test and determine whether we get additional witnesses that will help us make a relevant and a fair decision", Shelby said on ABC's "This Week".

The president's lawyers bore down on the suggestion that House impeachment is invalid unless the accused violated US law.

Trump's answer to the summons was the first salvo in what will be several rounds of arguments before the trial formally begins.

A source close to the legal team told reporters on a phone call that the official legal file for the trial would be more detailed and directly address the indictments.

Mr Trump and his legal team said the impeachment charges failed to allege "any crime or violation of law" and were "the result of a lawless process that violated basic due process and fundamental fairness".

On Sunday, Ray also outlined what constitutes a "well-founded" article of impeachment, explaining why he believes the two at hand won't fare well in the Senate. The very partisan and reckless obsession with the removal of the president began on the day he was initiated and continues, "said the legal team".

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