Impeachment managers call Trump “singularly responsible” for riots

Ursula Perano

WASHINGTON DC: House impeachment managers on Tuesday made their case for the indictment of former President Trump in a brief, arguing that he pushed his supporters into a “frenzy,” while dubbing him “singularly responsible” for the deadly siege at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

What they’re saying: The Democratic managers argue that Trump’s actions were not protected by the First Amendment, stating, “If provoking an insurrectionary riot against a Joint Session of Congress after losing an election is not an impeachable offense, it is hard to imagine what would be.”

“It is impossible to imagine the events of January 6 occurring without President Trump creating a powder keg, striking a match, and then seeking personal advantage from the ensuing havoc,” they wrote.

“President Trump’s responsibility for the events of January 6 is unmistakable,” the House impeachment team added. “President Trump’s effort to extend his grip on power by fomenting violence against Congress was a profound violation of the oath he swore.”

The state of play: The impeachment trial begins on Feb. 9, and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) will lead the effort to convict Trump and bar him from holding office in the future. Trump’s defense will be led by lawyers David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor Jr.

The backdrop: Forty-five Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), supported an effort to dismiss his trial earlier this month, arguing it would not be constitutional to convict a former president.

House managers rebutted the constitutionality question, writing: “The Constitution governs the first day of the President’s term, the last day, and every moment in between. Presidents do not get a free pass to commit high crimes and misdemeanors near the end of their term.”

The other side: Trump’s legal team responded on Tuesday, “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…”

They further argue, “The Article of Impeachment misconstrues protected speech and fails to meet the constitutional standard for any impeachable offense.”

The team says the article presented by the House was also made too broad, making it difficult for senators to indict.

“Because the Article at issue here alleges multiple wrongs in the single article, it would be impossible to know if two-thirds of the members agreed on the entire article, or just on parts, as the basis for vote to convict.”