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Trump’s responsibility for Capitol riot ‘unmistakable,’ House Democrats say in impeachment brief

WASHINGTON — House impeachment managers filed their memorandum Tuesday for the Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, laying out in the clearest terms yet why they believe Trump committed impeachable offenses and must be barred from running for office again.

In excerpts released Tuesday morning, the Democratic managers, led by Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., argue that Trump was personally responsible for the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6. They say that when Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election failed, he incited an attack on the Capitol.

“President Trump’s responsibility for the events of January 6 is unmistakable,” they write in the 80-page document, stating that his “abuse of office threatened and injured our democratic order.”

“His conduct endangered the life of every single member of Congress, jeopardized the peaceful transition of power and line of succession, and compromised our national security,” the brief says. “This is precisely the sort of constitutional offense that warrants disqualification from federal office.”

The Senate “must establish beyond doubt” that Trump’s behavior was intolerable, it says.

The managers refute the claims made by the former president’s allies that the Senate has no jurisdiction over Trump because he is now a former official.

“That argument is wrong. It is also dangerous,” they write, saying it’s unthinkable that the framers of the Constitution would have “left us virtually defenseless against a president’s treachery in his final days, allowing him to misuse power, violate his Oath, and incite insurrection against Congress and our electoral institutions simply because he is a lame duck.”

They add that it’s “obvious” that the Senate has the right to hold the trial, which is set to begin next week, because Trump was impeached by the House while he was still in office. The framers of the Constitutional “clearly intended for the impeachment process to reach former officials,” they write, adding that the Senate found it had the power to try former officials as far back as 1798, in the case of former Sen. William Blount.

They also say Trump cannot hide behind a free speech argument, arguing that right means little if Trump can “provoke lawless action if he loses at the polls.”

Trump’s statements at his rally on Jan. 6 ahead of the attack on the Capitol turned the event into a “powder keg waiting to blow” and that it was “entirely foreseeable” that his supporters were “primed (and prepared) for violence if he lit a spark,” they write.

Trump “summoned a mob to Washington, exhorted them into a frenzy, and aimed them like a loaded cannon down Pennsylvania Avenue,” the say.

Trump’s legal team is expected to file their brief by noon Tuesday. This comes as one of Trump’s new impeachment lawyers, David Schoen, appeared on “Hannity” Monday evening.

Schoen emphasized the Trump team’s belief that the impeachment of a past president is unconstitutional. He said that it’s a “dangerous road to take with respect to the First Amendment,” insinuating that Trump was simply speaking passionately during what Democrats allege was incitement of the insurrection.

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