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Trump’s lawyers confirm their playbook for impeachment is to argue that the charges are ‘deficient’ and should be immediately thrown out


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Trump’s lawyers confirm their playbook for impeachment is to argue that the charges are ‘deficient’ and should be immediately thrown out

President Donald Trump’s legal team said the articles of impeachment against him are “deficient” in a fiery response ahead of his trial in the Senate. Speaking ahead of a formal defense filing, sources working with Trump’s legal team told reporters in a briefing that the charges should be tossed out because they are “frivolous and dangerous…

Trump’s lawyers confirm their playbook for impeachment is to argue that the charges are ‘deficient’ and should be immediately thrown out
  • President Donald Trump’s legal team said the articles of impeachment against him are “deficient” in a fiery response ahead of his trial in the Senate. 
  • Speaking ahead of a formal defense filing, sources working with Trump’s legal team told reporters in a briefing that the charges should be tossed out because they are “frivolous and dangerous and “constitutionally invalid.”
  • Trump’s defense is hobbled, however, by the slew of documentary evidence, witness testimony, and even the president’s own statements, that support the impeachment charges.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump’s legal team filed a response to charges accusing him of abusing his power and obstructing Congress on Monday, saying the articles of impeachment are “deficient” and should be thrown out.

Speaking ahead of the filing, sources working with Trump’s legal team said during a background briefing on Monday that the charges are “frivolous and dangerous,” and that they fail to cite any legal violations.

The sources did not say whether they would ask for a motion to dismiss the charges, but did say the case should be rejected, arguing that the “articles of impeachment are deficient on their face.”

The 110-page legal briefing was filed to the Senate on Monday and pushed back on House Democrats’ allegations that Trump abused his power.

At the center of the impeachment inquiry are Trump’s efforts to strongarm Ukraine’s government into pursuing investigations that would politically benefit him, while withholding vital military aid and a White House meeting that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky desperately sought.

The president’s pressure campaign also included forcing the abrupt ouster of Marie Yovanovitch, formerly the US’s ambassador to Ukraine, because she stood in the way of Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, as they worked to get the Ukrainian government to dig up or manufacture political dirt against former Vice President Joe Biden, who is a 2020 Democratic frontrunner.

Trump’s actions first came to light in an anonymous whistleblower’s complaint that a US intelligence official filed in August. The complaint detailed a July 25 phone call between Trump and Zelensky during which the US president repeatedly pressed his Ukrainian counterpart to work with Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr to investigate the Bidens, as well as a bogus conspiracy theory suggesting Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election to help Democrats.

But a string of public testimony from career, nonpartisan government officials since then revealed that the phone call was just one data point in a months-long effort to bully Ukraine into caving to Trump’s demands.

The contents of the whistleblower complaint were corroborated by a White House memo summarizing the July 25 phone call, and Trump himself said several times — in public — that he wanted Ukraine to probe the Bidens.

Moreover, Gordon Sondland, the US’s ambassador to the European Union, testified to Congress that “everyone,” including senior officials like former national security adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and more, was in the loop on what Trump was doing.

Additional reporting and documents since the House impeached Trump in December revealed that there was widespread concern across lower levels of the government, including in the State Department and the Pentagon, about the legality of the president’s actions.

Monday’s filing comes after Trump’s legal team filed another short document over the weekend calling the articles of impeachment “constitutionally invalid.”

The more comprehensive filing on Monday expanded on that claim, but sources working with Trump’s legal team declined to lay out the specifics during the briefing.

Trump will be represented at trial by White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Jay Sekulow, and other attorneys expected to take part include Ken Starr, Alan Dershowitz, Pam Bondi, Jane Serene Raskin, Eric Herschmann and Robert Ray.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to allot 24 hours per side to statements in the trial, which must be confined into two working days, according to NBC News.

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