Defense of Donald Trump's Senate trial: abuse of power is not unrelenting

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Trump was accused by the House last month on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for his scheme to pressure Ukraine for political favors – including the announcement of an investigation into Joe Biden, a possible opponent of the 2020 elections.

"He successfully argued in the Senate that criminal conduct is necessary. That argument has prevailed. I will make this argument as a lawyer on behalf of the president's defense team against impeachment," said Dershowitz.

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In "This Week" on ABC, Dershowitz argued that the impeachment articles voted by the House did not meet the constitutional standard for using Congress' most serious power to censor a president.

"You have a lot of evidence, contested evidence that can go both ways. But the vote was to challenge abuse of power that is not within the constitutional criteria of impeachment and obstruction of justice," he said.

Schumer at the Senate impeachment trial:

In Trump's response to the Senate's legal call for his trial, his lawyers argue that the first impeachment article against him is invalid because "he alleges no crime, let alone" high crimes and misdemeanors ", as required by Constitution. Fact, it does not claim any violation of the law ".

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A summary of the Democratic trial also released over the weekend dismisses the central board of Trump's defense – that an indicted crime must be committed before a president can be challenged. The document says that the Founders understood the phrase "High crimes and misdemeanors" as "acts committed by public officials that inflict serious damage to the constitutional order.

The president of the Democratic Intelligence Chamber, Adam Schiff, criticized the president's effective position that the abuse of power – the subject of the first impeachment article – is not an unthinkable offense.

"The logic of this absurd position that is now being adopted by the president is that he could denounce the state of Alaska. He could suspend the execution of sanctions against Russia for interfering in the last elections to induce or coerce Russia to interfere in the next., "Schiff, one of the impeachment managers who will defend the case against Trump, said in" This week ".

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"The very idea of ​​that would have shocked the founders, who were concerned about exactly this kind of request for foreign interference in an election for personal benefit, the danger that this poses to national security," said Schiff.

"This goes to the heart of what the conspirators intended to be unbeatable."

& # 39; Abuse of power is not unrelenting & # 39;

Trump's lawyers are outlining a vision for an expansive presidency and a political system that gives Congress limited power to verify the commander in chief.

His extremely aggressive response to the Chamber's impeachment case also alleges that the President was denied due process in the Chamber's impeachment investigation.

The response to the summons, signed by the two Trump lawyers Jay Sekulow and Pat Cipollone, is already fulfilling part of its goal – to arm Republican senators with pre-trial arguments to combat a detailed Democratic case alleging serious abuse of presidential authority.

Schiff says intelligence agency is withholding Ukraine documents from Congress

"He was accused of abuse of power, which is not betrayal, which is not bribery, which is not crime and misdemeanor," Senator John Cornyn in Texas said on CBS's "Face the Nation" channel on Sunday.

"So this is the first time in history that a president has been accused of non-crime for events that never happened," he said.

Georgia Sen. David Perdue, another Trump ally, adopted the legal response argument that Democrats had subverted the impeachment process itself – even though the Constitution gives the House exclusive power to define the proceedings of the process and that the President refused to send representatives of the Judiciary Committee hearings.

"All of this has been tested in the media. I mean, he hasn't had an opportunity," Perdue told NBC "Meet the Press". "Remember, next week will be the first time that the United States will hear President Trump's defense."

The legal response and public comments from members of his legal team represent the president's most consistent reaction against his impeachment.

Trump's defense also largely ignores the evidence piled up by the House's impeachment investigation. It implicitly argues that withholding aid in an effort to obtain political favors – in this case from Ukraine – is within the president's prerogative and that Congress has no power to investigate it.

Democrats scoff at Trump's new defense

The president's summary is shaping a fierce debate over whether Republicans will allow new testimonies during the trial.

Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said late on Sunday that if Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell did not ask for witnesses in his proposed trial procedures, he would force votes on the matter at the start of the trial.

"We are authorized to amend it and request it. I am authorized to amend it – and if they say it right, we will wait and listen to the arguments. We want a vote after they hear the arguments and we do everything possible to force votes again, "Schumer said at a news conference in New York.

New revelations about Trump's scheme to go through formal diplomatic channels in Ukraine – especially from indicted associate Rudy Giuliani, Lev Parnas, are putting pressure on Republican Party senators on the issue of witnesses.

The dueling Democratic and Republican narratives that face the Senate trial reflect high political stakes, although Trump's absolution is almost guaranteed. Democrats want the public to perceive the Republican Party as protecting a corrupt president in an unfair trial. Republican leaders hope to protect their vulnerable members in unstable states, where Trump is unpopular and are limited by the strangulation of the president on a conservative basis – on issues such as witnesses, especially.

A retrospective of Trump's history of high-level legal assets

"For me, the Senate itself is on trial, and the jury is the American people," said Illinois Senator Dick Durbin in "Meet the Press", revealing the Democratic tactic of making life as uncomfortable as possible for Republican Senators while the judgment begins.

"A fair trial, everyone understands, involves evidence. The evidence would be documents and witnesses," said Durbin. "At this point, you know, the Senate is on trial. And I hope that, at the end of the day, enough Republican senators understand that history will find it. Make sure you make a decision that you can live with in terms of our Constitution. and your own professional career ".

In their own detailed document released over the weekend, Democrats argued that the Senate's expected failure to convict Trump for unthinkable crimes would change the presidency forever.

"Their misconduct challenges the fundamental principle that Americans must decide the American elections, and that a divided system of government, in which no branch operates without the checks and balances of others, preserves the freedom that we all cherish," he said. the Democratic report. .

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