Feb. 2 (UPI) — In the first legal impeachment brief filed on Tuesday, House Democrats say they will accuse former President Donald Trump of being singularly responsible for the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol last month.
The brief charges that Trump for weeks before the Jan. 6 attack repeated unproven and baseless claims of widespread voter fraud. It says his pursuit to overturn the election results culminated in the Capitol riot.
“It is one thing for an official to pursue legal processes for contesting election results,” the House impeachment managers state in the brief. “It is something else entirely for that official to incite violence against the government, and to obstruct the finalization of election results, after judges and election officials conclude that his challenges lack proof and legal merit.”
The managers said Trump was “unmistakably” responsible for the Capitol riot, which led to the deaths of five people, including a Capitol police officer.
“The facts are compelling and the evidence is overwhelming,” the managers said in a joint statement after the filing. “After months of spreading his ‘Big Lie’ that he won a landslide victory in the 2020 election, leading up to and on January 6, 2021, President Trump summoned, assembled and incited a violent mob that attacked the Capitol, cost the lives of three police officers and four other people, threatened the vice president and Congress, and successfully halted the counting of the Electoral College vote.
“The Senate’s responsibility to hear this case is clear and unavoidable. There is no ‘January exception’ to the Constitution that allows a president to organize a coup or incite an armed insurrection in his final weeks in office.
“The Senate must convict President Trump, who has already been impeached by the House of Representatives, and disqualify him from ever holding federal office again. We must protect the Republic from any future dangerous attacks he could level against our constitutional order.”
Trump’s defense team was expected to file their brief later Tuesday.
The Democratic House managers rejected an earlier suggestion from Republicans that the impeachment is unconstitutional because Trump is no longer in office.
The managers contend that Trump’s offense warrants that he be banned from ever again holding public office.
“This is not a case where elections alone are a sufficient safeguard against future abuse; it is the electoral process itself that President Trump attacked and that must be protected from him and anyone else who would seek to mimic his behavior,” the House managers wrote.
“Indeed, it is difficult to imagine a case that more clearly evokes the reasons the Framers wrote a disqualification power into the Constitution.”
Democrats said they plan to present new video evidence and witness testimony describing the hostility of attackers as they injured Capitol police officers and overran the building.
Since leaving office on Jan. 20, Trump has remained at his Mar-a-Largo resort in South Florida.