What the House Democrats' impeachment memo leaves out

FILE- With the White House in the background former President Donald Trump speaks his supporters during a rally in Washington D.C. Jan. 6 2021

Nonetheless, as it stands Trump figures to walk out of the Senate a victor.

On Tuesday, the House impeachment managers filed a persuasive and on-point 80-page brief.

The letter concluded: "As Congressional employees, we don't have a vote on whether to convict Donald J. Trump for his role in inciting the violent attack at the Capitol, but our Senators do".

At the same time, the House managers eloquently invoke the broader themes of constitutional principle and historical goal that justify the House's impeachment resolution and show that the process Congress is now engaged in is deeply consequential to the republic.

More than 370 Capitol Hill staffers signed a letter Wednesday asking U.S. senators to convict former President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial. Federal authorities are also investigating militia groups who met before Trump spoke and organized travel in advance of the January 6 rally, which took place the day Congress met to count the electoral votes. In fact, only a small proportion of rioters who have been arrested so far are known to have been carrying guns or other deadly weapons.

In their 77-page brief, the House prosecutors allege that Trump's effort to subvert the election results that led to the January 6 insurrection started well before a single vote was cast in the election.

The new Trump team, not surprisingly, isn't pursuing the Big Lie either. We reviewed the arguments of Trump's lawyers and found that they brushed over Trump's months-long campaign to overturn the election. In other words, it would hurt his case, not help it.

Instead, the former president's defense rests on a blizzard of nonsense.

Mr Trump's response took an unusual form, addressing the House's article of impeachment point by point.

Members of the 100-seat Senate will serve as jurors in his trial. They're also debating the First Amendment and a blunt assessment by Democrats that the riot posed a threat to the presidential line of succession. That's another swing and a miss. (He has a legal right to root for worldwide foes to defeat the United States, but it is nevertheless impeachable conduct for the commander in chief to do so.) Furthermore, the First Amendment is inapplicable when it comes to inciting violence. Many, if not most, impeachable offenses by their nature are "speech". For example, President Nixon's command to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to stand down in investigating the Watergate affair.


It only gets worse from there.

For instance, CNN's chief White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins, tweeted: "White House officials were shaken by Trump's reaction to a mob of his supporters descending on the Capitol today". Both concepts, again, are borrowed from criminal law; they have no relevance to impeachment. Trump was "infuriated" after Bowers told him the total budget would be $3 million, though he ultimately haggled the attorney down to $1 million while planning to use his political action committee to pay for "audiovisuals, a rapid-response team and legislative liaison". It too is errant, but it is likely to carry the day.

"The strength of our Constitution is about to be tested like never before in our history", he said.

But as I've said, along with a majority of constitutional scholars, it's the Constitution that leaves it to the Senate to decide this issue.

Trump adviser Jason Miller did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the legal strategy of blaming the former president. It did it again just days ago by rejecting Sen.

Although Trump was impeached on January 13, his term ended a week later - before the beginning of the Senate trial.

It made no difference, the House insisted they would go ahead with impeachment accusing him of "prostituting his high office to his lust for private gain".

As of Wednesday morning, 360 House and Senate staffers had signed the letter.

Failure to convict Trump "would embolden future leaders to attempt to retain power by any and all means - and would suggest that there is no line a president can not cross". Though Trump raised about $175 million in a joint venture with the Republican National Committee, he spent just $10 million on legal costs while spending almost $50 million on ads and fundraising, according to The New York Times.

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