Trump’s impeachment attorneys deny he encouraged the attack, academic says his work was misused by Reuters

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3/3 © Reuters. Sunrise over the United States Capitol before the impeachment of former President Trump in Washington 2/3

By Richard Cowan, David Morgan and Jan Wolfe WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Attorneys who defended Donald Trump in his second impeachment on Monday denied that he encouraged the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol by hundreds of his supporters, while Democrats prosecute first The president said he has no valid defense. With his trial scheduled to begin Tuesday, Trump’s legal team questioned whether it was constitutional to have impeachment for a president who left office, although one of the legal scholars they cited in a report said they had misrepresented his work. Michigan State University law professor Brian Kalt told Reuters in an email that his research was “definitely not” accurately described in the 78-page document. “They didn’t have to be false and misleading like this,” Kalt said later on Twitter, adding that “in various places, they misrepresent what I wrote quite badly.” Kalt has joined other scholars in arguing that the trial is backed by the United States Constitution. Trump’s lawyers are trying to convince members of the closely divided 100-member Senate not to condemn the Republican or prevent him from holding public office again. The conviction requires a two-thirds majority, which means 17 Republicans would need to join the 50 Senate Democrats in the vote. Based on preliminary votes and public comments, there appears to be little chance of that happening. Trump’s lawyers called the trial a “brazen political act” by Democrats “hungry for this political theater” with the intention of “silencing a political opponent.” and a minority party. “Trump’s four-year term ended on January 20. The” incitement to insurrection “charge passed by the Democratic-led House of Representatives on January 13 focused on Trump’s speech before a crowd of supporters shortly before hundreds of them stormed the Capitol on January 6, sent lawmakers underground and left five people dead, including a police officer. “The evidence of President Trump’s conduct is overwhelming “The nine Democratic House impeachment managers, who will serve as prosecutors, wrote in a report.” He has no valid excuse or defense for his actions. “Trump’s attorneys said he was speaking only” figuratively “when He told his supporters to go to the Capitol and “fight like hell” while Congress formally certifies Democrat Joe Biden‘s Nov. 3 election victory. The word “struggle,” said the defense, “cannot be interpreted as an incentive for acts of violence.” “Notably absent from his speech was any reference or encouragement to an insurrection, a riot, a criminal action or any act of physical violence,” they wrote. Trump’s lawyers said he could not be held responsible for the actions of “a small group of criminals, who had come to the capital of their own free will armed and ready for a fight.” Several of the roughly 200 people charged after the riots have tried to put at least some blame on Trump while defending themselves in court or in the court of public opinion. The impeachment, Trump’s lawyers wrote, “was just a selfish attempt by the Democratic leadership in the House to take advantage of the feelings of horror and confusion that befell all Americans across the political spectrum” on January 6. CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGE Democratic managers ridiculed Trump’s defense argument that he was simply exercising his free speech rights under the First Amendment to the Constitution. “The House did not impeach President Trump because he expressed an unpopular political opinion,” the Democrats wrote. “He accused him because he intentionally incited a violent insurrection against the government.” Trump’s false claims about stolen elections and his speech before the riots have left fissures in his party. Ten House Republicans voted to impeach him. Defense attorneys Bruce Castor, David Schoen and Michael van der Veen said the Constitution “does not provide for the impeachment of a private citizen who is not in office.” A failed attempt on January 26 to dismiss the case on that basis garnered support from 45 of the 50 Senate Republicans. “Republicans are completely wrong if they believe that the impeachment of a former president is unconstitutional,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer responded, speaking at the Senate floor on Monday. Schumer’s office said the trial will begin Tuesday with a four-hour debate and then a vote on whether the proceedings are unconstitutional because Trump is no longer president. Beginning Wednesday at noon, there will be up to 32 hours of debate at the trial, and the Senate will vote on whether to allow witnesses if House attorneys want any, his office said. Trump’s office, in a statement, said its legal team was satisfied with the structure of the trial. Trump’s first impeachment trial, on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress stemming from his request that Ukraine investigate Biden and his son Hunter, ended in February 2020 with the acquittal of the then Republican-led Senate.