In a 171 page submission made to the U.S. Senate on Monday, President Donald Trump's legal team said the impeachment charges submitted by the House do not identify any violations of criminal law and should immediately by dismissed by Senators.
"The articles should be rejected and the President should immediately be acquitted," the legal brief states, arguing the charge of "abuse of power" does not state an impeachable offense - even though that charge was drawn up by the House in 1974 against President Richard Nixon.
"House Democrats’ novel conception of “abuse of power” as a supposedly impeachable offense is constitutionally defective," the Trump brief states. "It supplants the Framers’ standard of “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” with a made-up theory that the President can be impeached and removed from office under an amorphous and undefined standard of 'abuse of power.'"
The White House team leans heavily into the fact that Democrats didn't charge Trump with a statutory crime — even though it's been widely agreed based on the framers, and past practice, that no such violation is necessary for impeachment.https://t.co/eXqADbNdTq— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) January 20, 2020
On the question of whether President Trump held back military aid for Ukraine while pressing the Ukraine government to announce investigations related to Joe Biden and his son, the White House legal team says there is no evidence to support those claims.
"The most important piece of evidence demonstrating the President’s innocence is the transcript of the President’s July 25 telephone call with President Zelenskyy," the trial brief states, referring to the call which President Trump has repeatedly said was 'perfect.'
"President Trump did not even mention the security assistance on the call, and he certainly did not make any connection between the assistance and any investigation," the White House legal team states, without mentioning that a hold was put on the aid to Ukraine 90 minutes after that phone call concluded on July 25, 2019.
From the White House on Monday, the President tweeted out his familiar opposition to the impeachment trial, continuing to characterize the House impeachment process as unfair.
Cryin’ Chuck Schumer is now asking for “fairness”, when he and the Democrat House members worked together to make sure I got ZERO fairness in the House. So, what else is new?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2020
Minutes after the White House filed its trial brief, Democrats in the House responded to his initial 'answer' to the Senate trial summons.
"The House denies each and every allegation and defense in the Preamble to the Answer," the nine page response began.
"He used Presidential powers to pressure a vulnerable foreign partner to interfere in our elections for his own benefit," referring to the President's interactions with the leader of Ukraine.
"President Trump maintains that the Senate cannot remove him even if the House proves every claim in the Articles of impeachment,” the House reply added.
“That is a chilling assertion. It is also dead wrong," the House concluded.