In their first legal filings, President Donald Trump‘s impeachment defense team denounced the charges as “brazen and unlawful” attempts by Democratic lawmakers to influence the 2020 election.

“The articles of impeachment submitted by House Democrats are a dangerous attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their president,” his lawyers wrote in response to the charges. “This is a brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election and interfere with the 2020 election, now just months away.”

A fuller brief is due Monday, before the trial begins Tuesday.

They did not, however, deny the facts surrounding the impeachment, rather asserted that what he did was not an impeachable offense.


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The House impeachment managers summarized their findings from the Intelligence Committee-led investigation in a 46-page trial memorandum and an additional 60-page statement of facts. They asserted that Trump inappropriately used the power of the presidency to pressure a foreign government, Ukraine, to open a probe into his political rival, Joe Biden.

The Democrats asserted that Trump tried to gain Ukraine’s help in the 2020 election by threatening to withhold military aid and an Oval Office meeting with the country’s president until they agreed to publicly announce the investigation into Biden.

The president then tried to hide his actions by ordering administration officials to ignore congressional subpoenas, creating “a serious danger to our constitutional checks and balances.”

“President Trump’s conduct is the framers’ worst nightmare,” wrote the seven Democratic managers.

Trump’s lawyers argue that his actions in Ukraine were not politically motivated, but were part of an anti-corruption effort.

“President Trump categorically and unequivocally denies each and every allegation in both articles of impeachment,” wrote two of his defense lawyers, White House counsel Pat Cipollone and personal attorney Jay Sekulow.

The Senate would need 67 votes to convict and remove Trump from office. There are currently 53 GOP senators, meaning at least 20 Republicans would have to turn against him.

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