Trump ‘singularly responsible’ for riot, impeachment trial brief claims | Daily News

Trump ‘singularly responsible’ for riot, impeachment trial brief claims

The House impeachment managers, led by Representative Jamie Raskin, (R), submitted an 80-page brief blaming Trump for the violent attack.
The House impeachment managers, led by Representative Jamie Raskin, (R), submitted an 80-page brief blaming Trump for the violent attack.

US: Donald Trump was "singularly responsible" for the deadly US Capitol riot last month and acquitting the former president could damage American democracy, lawmakers leading the impeachment case said Tuesday, a week before his Senate trial begins.

Trump became the first US President in history to be impeached twice when the House of Representatives charged him last month with inciting the mayhem inflicted by his followers when they invaded Congress on January 6. In a pre-trial brief, the House impeachment managers made their case for the Senate to convict, saying the American people should be protected "against a president who provokes violence to subvert our democracy."

Trump's impeachment was triggered by a speech he delivered to a crowd on the National Mall just before the riot, telling them Joe Biden had stolen the Presidential election and that they needed to march on Congress and "fight like hell." Trump, they said, "is singularly responsible for the violence and destruction" during the riot that left five people dead.

Failure to convict Trump "would embolden future leaders to attempt to retain power by any and all means -- and would suggest that there is no line a president cannot cross."

Although Trump was impeached on January 13, his term ended a week later -- before the beginning of the Senate trial.

"The present proceedings are moot and thus a nullity since the 45th President cannot be removed from an office he no longer occupies," Trump lawyers Bruce Castor and David Schoen wrote in their own brief outlining the case for the defense.

"The President exercised his First Amendment right under the Constitution to express his belief that the election results were suspect," the lawyers wrote.

But House Democrat Adam Schiff, lead manager in Trump's first impeachment trial, which ended in acquittal in early 2020, said such a defense was a "false" argument.

- AFP