Trump's incitement of mob disqualifies him from holding office again, House impeachment managers say

Former President Trump bears “unmistakable” blame for sending a violent mob of his supporters to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the House impeachment managers said Tuesday in a legal brief for Mr. Trump‘s upcoming Senate trial.

Mr. Trump endangered the lives of all lawmakers when he aimed his supporters “like a loaded cannon” at the Capitol, the Democrats argued in their brief as they seek to bar the former president from ever holding office again.

“His conduct endangered the life of every single member of Congress, jeopardized the peaceful transition of power and line of succession, and compromised our national security,” the Democratic managers wrote. “This is precisely the sort of constitutional offense that warrants disqualification from federal office.”

Their legal brief details for the first time the arguments that Democrats will present at the impeachment trial that begins next week. 

“If provoking an insurrectionary riot against a Joint Session of Congress after losing an election is not an impeachable offense, it is hard to imagine what would be,” the brief stated.

Lawyers for Mr. Trump are due to file their own brief on Tuesday. One of those attorneys, David Schoen, said on Fox News that will argue the impeachment trial of a private citizen is unconstitutional and that Mr. Trump‘s address to a massive crowd in Washington on Jan. 6 before the riot was protected by the First Amendment.

Democrats said Mr. Trump must be held accountable for inciting the mob by telling lies that the election was “stolen” from him.

“The only honorable path at that point was for President Trump to accept the results and concede his electoral defeat. Instead, he summoned a mob to Washington, exhorted them into a frenzy, and aimed them like a loaded cannon down Pennsylvania Avenue,” the Democrats wrote.

The Democrats said Mr. Trump must be convicted under the facts and the law, but also because it is the “right” thing to do to unite the country.

“A president who violently attacks the democratic process has no right to participate in it. Only after President Trump is held to account for his actions can the nation move forward with unity of purpose and commitment to the Constitution,” they said.

The House managers also quoted from top congressional Republicans. The brief noted that House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney of Wyoming said “none of this would have happened without the president,” while then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said “the mob was fed lies” and was “provoked by the president.”

The Democrats begin their case by describing Mr. Trump’s actions starting in mid-November, when, according to the brief, Mr. Trump launched legal challenges to overturn President Biden’s victory.

They said Mr. Trump put “intense pressure” on election officials in battleground states such as Georgia. The repeated legal challenges were “improper and abusive,” Democrats said.
They also argue that Mr. Trump pressured the Justice Department to get involved in the legal challenges, to keep him in the White House.

The website “TheDonald.win” is also at issue in the Democrats’ legal argument. Citing information from an unnamed former Trump White House staffer, Democrats claim the former president monitored the blog, which encouraged the violent attack on the Capitol to “arrest the worst traitors” in Congress.

Other right-wing groups such as the Proud Boys encouraged protests ahead of Jan. 6, the brief notes, citing comments by Trump supporters to show the president’s culpability.

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