Impeachment managers argue about Trump.
According with them, Trump Was ‘Responsible’ for Capitol Riots.
Former President Donald J. Trump’s lawyers denied on Tuesday that he incited the deadly assault on the Capitol and argued that the Senate had no power to try a former president, as House prosecutors made their case that Mr. Trump was “singularly responsible” for the Jan. 6 rampage and must be convicted and barred from holding any future office.
The dueling filings provided the clearest preview yet of a politically fraught impeachment trial — the second in just a year — scheduled to begin in earnest next Tuesday. Both sides indicated they were ready for a debate over the constitutionality of trying a former president. They were also lining up diametrically opposed interpretations of a set of events witnessed on live television across the nation.
In his first formal answer to the “incitement of insurrection” charge against him, Mr. Trump’s lawyers denied that he was responsible for the Capitol riot or that he intended to interfere with Congress’s formalizing of President Biden’s election win. They said his words to supporters, some who later stormed the building — “if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore” — were protected by his First Amendment right of free speech. They said they were not meant as a reference to violent action, but “about the need to fight for election security in general.”
“It is denied that President Trump incited the crowd to engage in destructive behavior,” the lawyers, Bruce L. Castor Jr. and David Schoen, wrote in the 14-page filing. Notably, the document avoided repeating or attempting to defend Mr. Trump’s bogus claims that the November election had been “stolen” from him by widespread fraud, which the former president had wanted to be the central feature of his defense. But his lawyers in effect argued that Mr. Trump believed he won, and therefore was within his rights to “express his belief that the election results were suspect.”