U.S. House of Representatives Files Reply to President’s Impeachment Trial Brief
Washington, January 21, 2020
Washington, DC — Today at noon, the House Managers, on behalf of the U.S. House of Representatives, filed with the Secretary of the Senate a Reply Memorandum to the Trial Memorandum filed by President Donald J. Trump in his impeachment trial.
In their Reply, the Managers respond to the President’s meritless legal arguments and baseless factual assertions. As set forth in the Reply, the President’s abuse of power is a quintessential impeachable offense. The evidence overwhelmingly proves that President Trump corruptly pressured Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 presidential election for his own personal political benefit. The Reply highlights the hypocrisy of the President’s false claim of “transparency” given President Trump’s categorical refusal to comply with the House’s impeachment inquiry. It further argues that his assertion of invented and inapplicable privileges does not excuse his categorical obstruction of Congress. Finally, the Reply shows that the House conducted a constitutionally valid impeachment process, that the President received a fair process and was invited—but refused—to participate, and that the Constitution does not authorize President Trump to second guess the House’s exercise of its “sole Power of Impeachment.”
In the Reply, the Managers write:
The Framers anticipated that a President might one day seek to place his own personal and political interests above those of our Nation, and they understood that foreign interference in our elections was one of the gravest threats to our democracy. The Framers also knew that periodic democratic elections cannot serve as an effective check on a President who seeks to manipulate the those elections. The ultimate check on Presidential misconduct was provided by the Framers through the power to impeach and remove a President—a power that the Framers vested in the representatives of the American people.
Indeed, on the eve of his impeachment trial, President Trump continues to insist that he has done nothing wrong. President Trump’s view that he cannot be held accountable, except in an election he seeks to fix in his favor, underscores the need for the Senate to exercise its solemn constitutional duty to remove President Trump from office. If the Senate does not convict and remove President Trump, he will have succeeded in placing himself above the law. Each Senator should set aside partisanship and politics and hold President Trump accountable to protect our national security and democracy.
In response to some of the President’s most spurious arguments, the Managers write:
President Trump’s argument that abuse of power is not an impeachable offense is wrong—and dangerous. That argument would mean that, even accepting that the House’s recitation of the facts is correct—which it is—the House lacks authority to remove a President who sells out our democracy and national security in exchange for a personal political favor. The Framers of our Constitution took pains to ensure that such egregious abuses of power would be impeachable.
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President Trump’s lengthy brief to the Senate is heavy on rhetoric and procedural grievances, but entirely lacks a legitimate defense of his misconduct. It is clear from his response that President Trump would rather discuss anything other than what he actually did.
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President Trump’s lengthy trial brief does not explain why, even now, he has not offered any documents or witnesses in his defense or provided any information in response to the House’s repeated requests. This is not how an innocent person behaves.
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President Trump’s impeachment trial is an effort to safeguard our elections, not override them. His unsupported contentions to the contrary have it exactly backwards. President Trump has shown that he will use the immense powers of his office to manipulate the upcoming election to his own advantage. Respect for the integrity of this Nation’s democratic process requires that President Trump be removed before he can corrupt the very election that would hold him accountable to the American people.
Ultimately, as the Managers write in the Reply:
No amount of legal rhetoric can hide the fact that President Trump exemplifies why the Framers included the impeachment mechanism in the Constitution: to save the American people from these kinds of threats to our republic.
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The Senate should swiftly reject President Trump’s bluster and evasion, which amount to the frightening assertion that he may commit whatever misconduct he wishes, at whatever cost to the Nation, and then hide his actions from the representatives of the American people without repercussion.
The House Managers who will present the House’s case against the President of the United States in the U.S. Senate are Chairman Adam Schiff of California, Chairman Jerry Nadler of New York, Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren of California, Chairman Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Congresswoman Val Demings of Florida, Congressman Jason Crow of Colorado and Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia of Texas. The staffs of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on the Judiciary, and the Committee on Oversight and Reform are assisting the Managers during the impeachment trial.