House impeachment team to argue Trump is 'personally responsible' for inciting deadly Capitol riot

President Donald Trump looks on at the end of his speech during a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, in Washington, U.S, January 6, 2021.
Jim Bourg | Reuters

A team of Democratic House impeachment managers is poised to argue that former President Donald Trump is “personally responsible” for inciting the deadly invasion of the U.S. Capitol by a swarm of his supporters.

The team of nine impeachment managers, led by Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., also plans to rebut an argument from Republican lawmakers that it is unconstitutional to try a president for high crimes and misdemeanors after he has left office.

The team laid out its case against Trump in an 80-page brief Tuesday morning, one week before the former president’s unprecedented second impeachment trial is set to begin. They argue that Trump should not only be convicted by the Senate, but disqualified from ever holding federal office again.

“President Trump’s conduct offends everything that the Constitution stands for,” they wrote in the brief.

“The Senate must make clear to him and all who follow that a President who provokes armed violence against the government of the United States in an effort to overturn the results of an election will face trial and judgment.”

Trump was impeached in the House shortly before leaving office for inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, which left five dead and forced a joint session of Congress into hiding. Trump at a rally outside the White House shortly before the riot began urged a crowd of his supporters to march to the Capitol and pressure GOP lawmakers, as well as then-Vice President Mike Pence, to overturn Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

The impeachment team’s brief accuses Trump of attempting “to extend his grip on power by fomenting violence against Congress.”

“His conduct resulted in more than five deaths and many more injuries. The Capitol was defiled. The line of succession was imperiled. America’s global reputation was damaged. For the first time in history, the transfer of presidential power was interrupted,” the trial brief said.

Much of the document is dedicated to preemptively addressing the anticipated arguments from Republican senators and Trump’s legal team, which is scheduled to submit its own filing by noon Tuesday.

Last week, 45 Republican senators voted in support of a motion declaring it unconstitutional to hold a trial to convict a president who has left office — a view that one of Trump’s new lawyers, David Schoen, echoed in a Monday night interview on Fox News.

“Many have suggested that we should turn the page on the tragic events of January 6, 2021. But to heal the wounds he inflicted on the Nation, we must hold President Trump accountable for his conduct and, in so doing, reaffirm our core principles,” the brief said.

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