Trump’s formal answer to the impeachment articles, submitted Saturday evening by White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow, was criticized by legal experts for failing to actually “answer” or even contend with the factual allegations contained in the impeachment articles, opting instead to employ political attacks on House Democrats and the general impeachment process.
Monday’s reply from impeachment managers–those selected to argue the House’s case against Trump before the Senate–disparaged the president’s formal answer as “an unconvincing and implausible defense” against “simple facts.”
The managers’ brief began by reiterating their position that Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to announce an investigation into Joe Biden and Hunter Biden constituted an abuse of power worthy of being removed from office.
“[Trump] used Presidential powers to pressure a vulnerable foreign partner to interfere in our elections for his own benefit. In doing so, he jeopardized our national security and our democratic self-governance,” the managers wrote. “He then used his Presidential powers to orchestrate a cover-up unprecedented in the history of our Republic: a complete and relentless blockade of the House’s constitutional power to investigate high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
The brief then addressed President Trump’s core defense – that even if the allegations against him were true, they do no amount to impeachable offenses as defined by the U.S. Constitution.
“President Trump maintains that the Senate cannot remove him even if the House proves every claim in the Articles of impeachment. That is a chilling assertion. It is also dead wrong,” the memo stated. “The Framers deliberately drafted a Constitution that allows the Senate to remove Presidents who, like President Trump, abuse their power to cheat in elections, betray our national security, and ignore checks and balances. That President Trump believes otherwise, and insists he is free to engage in such conduct again, only highlights the continuing threat he poses to the Nation if allowed to remain in office. “
Consistently imploring the Senate to conduct a “fair trial”–including witness testimonies and new evidence– the managers concluded that failing to remove Trump from office would jeopardize U.S. national security.
“President Trump did not engage in this corrupt conduct to uphold the Presidency or protect the right to vote. He did it to cheat in the next election and bury the evidence when he got caught,” the brief stated. “He has acted in ways that prior Presidents expressly disavowed, while injuring our national security and democracy. And he will persist in that misconduct—which he deems “perfect”—unless and until he is removed from office.”
Read the Impeachment Managers full brief below:
[image via Tom Brenner/Getty Images]