Is brevity the soul of wit? Maybe not when you’re making a legal argument, and you’re short on details. A former federal prosecutor knocked the short length of the impeachment brief from President Donald Trump‘s team.
“The reason Trump’s brief is only seven pages long is that because the facts of this case are bad for Trump,” CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor for the Northern District of Illniois Renato Mariotti wrote Sunday afternoon. “Trump’s team doesn’t want Senators to delve into the facts.”
He was responding to a tweet from Neal Katyal, a former acting solicitor general during the Obama administration, and a proponent of impeaching Trump.
The House Managers’ brief is a very impressive piece of work. This is just part of pages 3-4 (of 111)
Really hard, when one compares even just that one page with the entirety of Trump’s 7 page very weak defense brief, to pretend there’s nothing there, or that no witnesses needed pic.twitter.com/JlJxFmrgZR
— Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) January 19, 2020
The Dem-led House of Representatives impeached Trump last month for alleged abuse of power, and obstruction of Congress. To be sure, both sides painted a very different picture of the controversy in their briefs for the upcoming Senate trial. Managers from the House said Trump demanded the Ukraine investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, and to look into a baseless conspiracy theory the country tried to help former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election campaign. The president’s team argued that the impeachment is a smear campaign.
“President Trump abused the power of his office by pressuring the government of Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 U.S.Presidential election for his own benefit,” they wrote. “In order to pressure the recently elected Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, to announce investigations that would advance President Trump’s political interests and his 2020 reelection bid, the President exercised his official power to withhold from Ukraine critical U.S.government support—$391 million of vital military aid and a coveted White House meeting.”
The House also charged him with stonewalling Congress when they were investigating his alleged misconduct.
“By categorically obstructing the House’s impeachment inquiry, President Trump claimed the House’s sole impeachment power for himself and sought to shield his misconduct from Congress and the American people,” they wrote.
The president’s team construe the impeachment allegations as a politically motivated smear campaign by Democrats. They call the articles of impeachment “invalid on their face.”
“They fail to allege any crime or violation of law whatsoever, let alone ‘high Crimes and Misdemeanors,’ as required by the Constitution,” they wrote. “They are the result of a lawless process that violated basic due process and fundamental fairness. Nothing in these Articles could permit even beginning to consider removing a duly elected President or warrant nullifying an election and subverting the will of the American people.”
[Image via NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images]