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Trump's defense team calls for swift end to impeachment trial

Preaident Donald Trump, shown at an event honoring members of the Louisiana State University football team on January 17, 2020, never broke the law and should not be removed from office, his defense said in a brief filed Monday. Photo by Al Drago/UPI
Preaident Donald Trump, shown at an event honoring members of the Louisiana State University football team on January 17, 2020, never broke the law and should not be removed from office, his defense said in a brief filed Monday. Photo by Al Drago/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 20 (UPI) -- The impeachment defense team for President Donald Trump said in a brief filed Monday the Senate should quickly acquit the president and called the articles of impeachment invalid and partisan.

The 110-page brief was submitted the day before Trump is set to stand trial in the Senate. He faces charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress related to pressing Ukraine to announce an investigation of political rival former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

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"The Articles of Impeachment now before the Senate are an affront to the Constitution and to our democratic institutions," the brief said. "The Articles themselves -- and the rigged process that brought them here -- are a brazenly political act by House Democrats that must be rejected."

Monday's brief follows a 111-page brief filed Saturday by House Democrat impeachment managers outlining their case.

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"President Trump's ongoing pattern of misconduct demonstrates that he is an immediate threat to the Nation and the rule of law," the Democrats' brief said. "It is imperative that the Senate convict and remove him from office now, and permanently bar him from holding federal office."

The brief referred to Trump's conduct as "the Framers' worst nightmare."

Trump's legal team, led by White House counsel Pat Cipollone and his personal attorney Jay Sekulow, said Democrats never alleged the president of criminal wrongdoing and the charges do not rise to the level of impeachment.

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"House Democrats' novel theory of 'abuse of power' improperly supplants the standard of 'high crimes and misdemeanors' with a made-up theory that would permanently weaken the presidency by effectively permitting impeachments based merely on policy disagreements," the document said.

"House Democrats' concocted theory that the president can be impeached for taking permissible actions if he does them for what they believe to be the wrong reasons would also expand the impeachment power beyond constitutional bounds," it said.

Trump also announced late Monday the addition of eight Republican members of the House of Representatives to his legal team, including Reps. Doug Collins, Mike Johnson, Jim Jordan, Debbie Lesko, Mark Meadows, John Ratcliffe, Elise Stefanik and Lee Zeldin.

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The group will serve as part of the team to "combat this hyper-partisan and baseless impeachment," the White House said in a statement.

"Honored to continue fighting on behalf of [Trump]," Collins said in a statement. "This impeachment has been a sham since day one, and we will continue to expose it for what it is: A blatantly political attempt to overturn the will of 63 million Americans."

The White House called it an "initial list" of Members of Congress who have provided it with guidance during the impeachment process.

"The president looks forward to their continued participation and is confident that the members will help expeditiously end this brazen political vendetta on behalf of the American people," the White House said.

The House, which is led by Democrats, voted in December to approve two articles of impeachment accusing Trump of abusing his power and obstructing the congressional inquiry into his conduct.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts swore in the Senate as jurors last week.

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