© Reuters. Sunrise over the U.S. Capitol ahead of the impeachment trial of former President Trump in Washington
By David Morgan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former President Trump had a deadline to file a pre-trial brief on Monday, the day before the Senate is due to begin its second impeachment trial for rioting on January 6th in the U.S. Capitol.
The nine Democratic House legislators, who will serve as prosecutors, hope to convince the 100-seat Senate to convict Trump and ultimately prevent him from holding public office again. Trump ended his four-year term on January 20 after losing the November 3 election to Democrat Joe Biden.
The deadline for filing by Trump’s legal team ends on Monday as the defense prepares to emphasize the argument set out in an earlier filing that the Senate lacks the constitutional authority to conduct the process after he resigns and is a private individual . Contesting the case against Trump on such grounds would allow his Senate Republican counterparts to vote against the conviction without defending his inflammatory speech directly to supporters just before the uprising.
The democratically run house charged Trump on January 13 with incitement to rebellion and focused on this speech. He is the first US president to be tried twice and the first to be tried after he leaves office.
During that speech, Trump repeated false claims that the election were fraudulent and admonished supporters to march on the Capitol, urging them to “stop the theft”, “show strength” and “fight like hell”. The rampage disrupted formal Congressional certification of Biden’s election victory, sent lawmakers to hiding for their own safety, and left five people dead, including a police officer.
A failed offer last month to dismiss the case against Trump on the grounds that it would be unconstitutional to hold a post-presidency trial was supported by 45 of the 50 Republicans in the Senate. Seventeen Republicans would have to join the Senate’s 50 Democrats to get a conviction, a huge hurdle.
Trump’s first impeachment trial for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for his request that Ukraine investigate Biden and his son Hunter ended with an acquittal by the then Republican-led Senate last year.
Trump split from his original legal team amid a reported dispute over how to respond to the impeachment charge.
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