Lawyers argue Trump not responsible for Capitol riot; urge dismissal of 'unconstitutional' impeachment trial

WASHINGTON (REUTERS, AFP) – Supporters of former US President Donald Trump who stormed the Capitol on Jan 6 to prevent the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory did so of their own accord, Trump’s lawyers argued in a brief filed on Monday (Feb 8) ahead of his impeachment trial.

A speech made by Trump in the hours before the riot “was not an act encouraging an organised movement to overthrow the United States government,” his lawyers said.

Trump’s defence team on Monday also urged the Senate to dismiss his impeachment trial on the grounds it is constitutionally flawed, and warned Democrats were conducting “political theatre” instead of fair justice.

“The Article of Impeachment presented by the House is unconstitutional for a variety of reasons, any of which alone would be grounds for immediate dismissal,” Trump’s lawyers said in a 78-page brief on the eve of his trial on charges of inciting a deadly riot at the US Capitol.

“They demonstrate conclusively that indulging House Democrats hunger for this political theatre is a danger to our Republic democracy and the rights that we hold dear.”

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