Speed Reads

impeachment round 2

Trump's impeachment lawyers argue he only wanted supporters to 'fight' in 'the figurative sense'

Former President Donald Trump's lawyers are arguing his impeachment is unconstitutional based on a technicality.

Last week, House impeachment managers laid out their case against Trump, naming him "singularly responsible" for inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and naming several instances where he allegedly provoked the attackers. But as Trump's lawyers said in a 78-page pretrial brief released Monday, combining all those allegations into just one impeachment article, among other flaws, mean the argument violates the Constitution.

A good 10 pages of the Trump lawyers' arguments is dedicated to the idea that the impeachment itself is "structurally deficient" and otherwise unconstitutional. "By charging multiple alleged wrongs in one article, the House of Representatives has made it impossible to guarantee compliance with" a piece of the Constitution that governs impeachment, the lawyers wrote. In addition, House Democrats' "theory on insurrection collapses ... because it fails to describe any violation of law whatsoever," Trump's lawyers went on. Both of these flaws mean Trump's impeachment should be dismissed, they said.

Trump's lawyers also argued against the concrete parts of the Democrats' allegation of incitement. They went into length about just what the word "fighting" means, saying that as Trump spoke more than 10,000 before a crowd outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, he only said it "a little more than a handful of times and each time in the figurative sense." For example, while Trump said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) was "fighting the House," he "was not punching any of his fellow representatives," the lawyers write. Find the whole brief here.