Trump Team, Impeachment Managers Lay Out Arguments for Senate Trial

- THE EPOCH TIMES - Feb 2, 2021 -


An 8-foot-tall steel fence topped with concertina razor wire circles the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 29, 2021. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Attorneys for former President Donald Trump and Democrat impeachment managers filed trial memorandums on Feb. 2 outlining their arguments for the Senate trial expected to begin next week.

The Democrat memo alleges that Trump incited a mob that breached the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 by sowing doubt about the integrity of the 2020 presidential election. The memo by Trump’s legal team denies the allegation and argues that the trial is unconstitutional because Trump is no longer president.

Democrats face an uphill battle in the Senate. Forty-five Republican senators voted in favor of a resolution calling the trial unconstitutional, since Trump is now a private citizen. With the Senate split 50–50, the impeachment managers would have to convince 17 Republicans that the trial is constitutional and that Trump is guilty of inciting an insurrection.

Trump’s defense team tied nearly every argument in the trial memo to the overarching point that the trial is unconstitutional. They argued that since the Constitution states that “impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy an office,” Trump cannot be tried since he can’t be removed.

“The constitutional provision requires that a person actually hold office to be impeached,” the defense memo, authored by Bruce Castor and David Schoen, states. “Since the 45th President is no longer ‘President,’ the clause ‘shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for …’ is impossible for the Senate to accomplish, and thus the current proceeding before the Senate is void ab initio as a legal nullity that runs patently contrary to the plain language of the Constitution.”

The Republicans’ focus on the constitutionality of the trial wasn’t lost on the impeachment managers, who devoted a significant portion of their memo to the argument that impeached former officials can still be tried. The impeachment managers’ memo cites a number of precedential examples, though none pertaining to a U.S. president. They argue that the Framers didn’t make a specific exception for former presidents and intended for impeachment and conviction to serve as a deterrent against corruption throughout their entire term in office.


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