In a new brief filed ahead of Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial, his attorneys urged the Senate to dismiss the charges against the former president, calling it a “political theater” while arguing it was unconstitutional for the Senate to convict a former president after they had already left office.
“This was only ever a selfish attempt by Democratic leadership in the House to prey upon the feelings of horror and confusion that fell upon all Americans across the entire political spectrum upon seeing the destruction at the Capitol on Jan. 6 by a few hundred people,” they wrote in their brief.
However, legal scholars and constitutional experts have indicated Trump can still face conviction for his role in the violent takeover of deadly riots at the US Capitol that left 6 people dead, including United States Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, and dozens injured. House Democrats charged the former president with fomenting the deadly insurrection.
Trump’s lawyers appear to argue that Democrats on Capitol Hill were using the violent riots to smear him. But Democrats argue it’s all about holding the former president accountable for his actions, even though he’s no longer in office.
To make their case, House managers prosecuting the case are expected to show new videos from the siege, along with Trump’s incendiary rhetoric refusing to concede the election. Trump’s new defense team has said it plans to counter with its own cache of videos of Democratic politicians making fiery speeches.
“We have the unusual circumstance where on the very first day of the trial, when those managers walk on the floor of the Senate, there will already be over 100 witnesses present,” Rep. Adam Schiff, (D-CA) who led Trump’s first impeachment, said on NBC’s Meet the Press, adding: “Whether you need additional witnesses will be a strategic call.”
For Republicans, the trial will test their bizarre political worshiping of Donald Trump and his enduring grip on the GOP.