Lawyers for former President Donald Trump have denounced the upcoming impeachment trial as an act of “political theater” by Democratic Party leaders.
According to a letter obtained by The Associated Press, the lawyers accused House Democrats of exploiting the trauma of the riots in the U.S. Capitol for their party’s benefit.
In the brief, they suggest that Trump was simply exercising his First Amendment rights when he disputed the election results. They further argue that he encouraged having a peaceful protest and, therefore, cannot be held responsible for the actions of the rioters.
“Instead, this has only been a self-serving attempt by the Democratic leadership in the House to take advantage of the feelings of horror and confusion that fell on all Americans across the political spectrum at the sight of the destruction at the Capitol on Jan. 6th by a few hundred people,” they wrote in a brief obtained by the agency.
It adds, “Instead of acting to heal the nation, or at least focusing on prosecuting the lawbreakers who stormed the Capitol, the Speaker of the House and her allies have sought to callously exploit the chaos of the moment for their own political gain.”
The impeachment trial
A debate will be held this Tuesday, followed by a vote in the full House of Representatives to determine whether or not it is constitutional to prosecute the former president.
The initial arguments would begin on Wednesday at noon, with up to 16 hours per party for presentations. In the unlikely scenario the Senate votes for impeachment, Trump will go down in history as the first U.S. president to be impeached twice and the first former president to face impeachment after leaving office.
Trump was previously acquitted by a Republican-majority Senate of charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in his first impeachment trial for alleged pressure on Ukraine, is charged this time with “inciting insurrection” for the assault on the Capitol on January 6th.