The Democratic legal brief says he bears “unmistakable” blame for actions that threatened the underpinnings of American democracy in the raid at the Capitol, while Trump's legal team claims the trial is unconstitutional.
Donald Trump endangered the lives of all members of Congress when he aimed a mob of supporters "like a loaded cannon" at the US Capitol, House Democrats have said.
House Democrats made their most detailed case yet on Tuesday for why the former president should be convicted and permanently barred from office.
Trump denied the allegations through his lawyers and called the trial unconstitutional.
The dueling filings offer the first public glimpse of the arguments that will be presented to the Senate beginning next week.
The impeachment trial represents a remarkable reckoning with the violence in the Capitol last month, which the senators witnessed firsthand, and with Trump’s presidency overall.
Held in the very chamber where the insurrectionists stood on January 6, it will pit Democratic demands for a final measure of accountability against the desire of many Republicans to turn the page and move on.
The impeachment trial, Trump’s second, begins in earnest on February 9.
The Democratic legal brief forcefully linked Trump's baseless efforts to overturn the results of the presidential election to the deadly riot at the Capitol, saying he bears “unmistakable” blame for actions that threatened the underpinnings of American democracy.
It argued that he must be found guilty on a charge of inciting the siege.
And it used evocative language to conjure the day's chaos, when “terrified members were trapped in the chamber" and called loved ones “for fear they would not survive.”
“His conduct endangered the life of every single member of Congress, jeopardised the peaceful transition of power and line of succession, and compromised our national security," the Democratic managers of the impeachment case wrote.
“This is precisely the sort of constitutional offence that warrants disqualification from federal office.”
The main strategy of former president Donald Trump's legal team will be to outline how the impeachment itself is unconstitutional. Our correspondent has the latest pic.twitter.com/YU1EWI377t— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) February 2, 2021
Trump’s lawyers, David Schoen and Bruce Castor, denied that he had incited the riot by disputing the election results or by exhorting his followers to “fight like hell.”
They said he was permitted by the First Amendment to challenge his loss to Democrat Joe Biden as “suspect” and that, in any event, the trial was unconstitutional now that Trump has left the White House.
Lawyers for Trump contested the Democratic characterization of Trump's remarks and his role in the riot, denying that he incited it or that he ever endangered national security.
When he told his followers to fight like hell, they said, he was talking about “election security in general.”