Trump’s legal team releases impeachment trial memo, calls process a ‘charade’

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Donald Trump’s legal team has released an official response to the charges of impeachment against the president, calling the process a “charade” and an “affront to the Constitution.”

Trump has been charged with abuse of office and obstruction of Congress, with his impeachment trial slated to begin in the Senate on Tuesday. Though Trump has lambasted the impeachment drive against him since an inquiry was initially opened by Democrats in September, his legal team released a 110-page rebuttal of the charges on Monday.

“The Articles of Impeachment now before the Senate are an affront to the Constitution and to our democratic institutions,” the memo begins. “The Articles themselves — and the rigged process that brought them here — are a brazenly political act by House Democrats that must be rejected.”

The memo goes on to claim that the charges against Trump fall short of the “high crimes and misdemeanors” the Constitution requires to trigger impeachment, and warn that a trial leading to Trump’s removal from the White House would “permanently weaken the presidency and forever alter the balance of the branches of government.”

Trump’s legal team will rehash the arguments in the memo when the Senate trial begins on Tuesday.

Earlier on Monday, House Democrats refuted the White House’s claim on Saturday that the articles of impeachment are “constitutionally invalid,” calling the assertion “dead wrong” and “chilling.”

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The impeachment drive against Trump centers on allegations that he pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into opening a corruption investigation into Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, using military aid to Kiev as leverage. The impeachment inquiry began after an intelligence community whistleblower drew attention to a July phone call between Trump and Zelensky, in which the president supposedly arranged a “quid pro quo” deal with his Ukrainian counterpart.

Trump and Zelensky deny any pressure campaign, and Trump released a transcript that he said shows the call was “perfect.”

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