Impeachment managers release legal brief ahead of Senate trial

House impeachment managers submitted their brief laying out the argument justifying the removal of President Trump from office ahead of the Senate trial, which is set to begin on Tuesday. The brief, which is over 100 pages, was due by Saturday at 5 p.m. ET.

The seven impeachment managers are members of the House who have been designated to prosecute the case against Mr. Trump. The president’s lawyers have until Monday at noon to present their own legal brief. If the managers then wish to issue a rebuttal, they have until noon on Tuesday.

“The case against the President of the United States is simple, the facts are indisputable, and the evidence is overwhelming: President Trump abused the power of his office to solicit foreign interference in our elections for his own personal political gain, thereby jeopardizing our national security, the integrity of our elections, and our democracy,” the impeachment managers said in a statement accompanying the release of the brief.

In the brief, the managers argue that Mr. Trump’s “conduct is the Framers’ worst nightmare,” and say that the president “abandoned his oath to faithfully execute the laws and betrayed his public trust.”

“President Trump’s misconduct presents a danger to our democratic processes, our national security, and our commitment to the rule of law. He must be removed from office,” the managers say in the brief.

The managers also take a shot at Republican senators who are standing by Mr. Trump.

“The country is watching to see how the Senate responds. History will judge each Senator’s willingness to rise above partisan differences, view the facts honestly, and defend the Constitution. The outcome of these proceedings will determine whether generations to come will enjoy a safe and secure democracy in which the President is not a king, and in which no one, particularly the President, is above the law,” the managers say in the brief.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone and the president’s personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow, will be the lead counsels in the president’s defense. Attorneys Robert Ray, Ken Starr and Alan Dershowitz will also be on the president’s trial legal team.

Sources close to the president’s legal team held a conference call with reporters this afternoon to discuss the legal team’s strategy. The sources argued that the articles of impeachment “are defective in their entirety.”

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts was sworn in to oversee the impeachment trial on Thursday. He then administered the impeachment oath to all but one senator, wherein the senators swear to be impartial jurors during the trial.

The House voted to impeach Mr. Trump on two articles — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — in December. The initial impeachment inquiry branched from concerns about a July 25 call between Mr. Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which Mr. Trump asked Zelensky to open investigations into a conspiracy theory about the 2016 election and former Vice President Joe Biden. Democrats have also argued that evidence and testimony from several current and former administration officials show that Mr. Trump ordered a hold on aid to Ukraine until Zelensky agreed to open an investigation into Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

What to expect as impeachment trial commences

Some new related documents have come to light since then, and Democrats argue that this new evidence should be submitted in the trial, along with additional witnesses.

Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, has argued that he should be called as a witness during the trial, claiming he has knowledge of the efforts to get the Ukrainian president to open an investigation into Biden. Parnas has also said Mr. Trump tried to fire former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch “at least four or five times” before she was eventually removed from her post. Parnas has been indicted on campaign finance charges.

Meanwhile, the Government Accountability Office released an opinion on Thursday finding that the White House Office of Management and Budget violated the law when it withheld military aid from Ukraine. Documents showing concerns by Pentagon officials about the hold on aid were released earlier in January, as first reported by Just Security.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to offer his organizing resolution designating the rules for the impeachment trial in the Senate on Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. It is not yet known whether new witnesses and evidence will be permitted in the trial. Impeachment managers and the president’s lawyers are then set to present their arguments to the Senate.

Paula Reid contributed to this report

Source: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/impeachment-managers-release-legal-brief-ahead-of-senate-trial-today-2020-01-18/

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