House Democrats said the evidence is “overwhelming” that Donald Trump committed a “serious betrayal of his oath of office” as they set out their arguments against the former president ahead of his second impeachment trial.
Mr. Trump was dismissed last month in a bipartisan vote in the House of Representatives on a charge of incitement to insurgency in connection with the Jan.6 siege on the U.S. Capitol, when a crowd of his supporters stormed the legislative complex in an attack that left five dead.
In a brief filed Tuesday, House Democrats – who will act as impeachers, or prosecutors, in the Senate trial – said Mr. Trump had “singular responsibility” for the “tragedy” .
“It is impossible to imagine the events of January 6 occurring without President Trump creating a powder keg, striking a match, and then seeking personal advantage in the havoc that followed,” they wrote.
Mr. Trump is only the third president in US history to be impeached, and the only one to be impeached twice. The former president was first impeached in December 2019 on two counts related to his efforts to get the Ukrainian president to dig up Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Mr Trump was acquitted of both counts after only one Republican senator, Mitt Romney, broke ranks with his party and voted to convict.
Mr. Trump’s second Senate trial will begin in earnest next week. He remains unlikely to be sentenced, however, given that the upper house of Congress is split 50-50 and all but five Senate Republicans last week supported a motion question whether it was constitutional to try a former president. Two-thirds of the chamber would have to find Mr. Trump guilty to be sentenced.
The Home arraignment managers argued in their brief that the Senate still had jurisdiction over Mr. Trump, even though he left the White House last month. Democrats want to condemn the former president and ban him from holding future office.
“The text and structure of the Constitution, along with its original meaning and previous interpretations by Congress, overwhelmingly demonstrate that a former public servant remains subject to trial and conviction for abuses of power,” said writes the leaders.
They added: “The Constitution governs the first day of the president’s term, the last day and every moment in between. Presidents do not get free passes to commit serious crimes and misdemeanors near the end of their term. “
Mr. Trump has largely stayed away from the public since Joe Biden’s inauguration and now lives in his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. He hired a new legal team this week after the lawyers he initially hired left. David Schoen and Bruce Castor Jr will represent the former president at next week’s trial.