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White House brief calls impeachment “an affront to the Constitution”

Washington — In a legal brief ahead of his Senate trial, President Trump’s legal team argues that the articles of impeachment passed by the House are “an affront to the Constitution” and fail to allege an impeachable offense.

CBS News obtained a 13-page executive summary of the brief, which is due to be filed to the Senate by noon. The document lays out many of the same assertions that appeared a six-page brief the president’s legal team filed over the weekend, largely that the “flimsy” impeachment articles don’t warrant his removal from office and should be rejected by the Senate.

“The diluted standard asserted here would permanently weaken the presidency and forever alter the balance among the branches of government in a manner that offends the constitutional design established by the founders,” the brief reads.

The executive summary argues Democrats have no evidence to support their claims and have “perverted” the impeachment process for political ends.

“The Senate should speedily reject these deficient articles of impeachment and acquit the president,” the executive summary reads. “The only threat to the Constitution that House Democrats have brought to light is their own degradation of the impeachment process and trampling of the separation of powers. Their fixation on damaging the president has trivialized the momentous act of impeachment, debased the standards of impeachable conduct, and perverted the power of impeachment by turning it into a partisan, election-year political tool.”

The House managers prosecuting the case against the president will have the opportunity to respond to the White House’s brief before the Senate trial, which is expected to kick off Tuesday afternoon. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will preside over the proceedings.

It remains to be seen whether Republicans have enough votes to suppress calling witnesses, such as former national security adviser John Bolton, who has said he would testify under subpoena.

“They didn’t want John Bolton and others in the House. They were in too much of a rush. Now they want them all in the Senate. Not supposed to be that way!” the president tweeted Monday morning.


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