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Defense Says Trump Had Right to Deny Election Results

New team files brief arguing House impeachment article
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2021 1:38 PM CST

(Newser) – Lawyers for former President Trump filed their response to the House's impeachment charge Tuesday, and it included a denial that it's wrong to say the presidential election results are in doubt. Trump repeatedly told supporters he won the November election "in a landslide" and faces an article of inciting an insurrection involving the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. "Insufficient evidence exists upon which a reasonable jurist could conclude that the 45th president’s statements were accurate or not," the brief says, per Politico, "and he therefore denies they were false." The lawyers, Bruce Castor and David Schoen, took the case days ago, after his previous team quit over Trump's insistence that his allegation of election fraud be included in the defense. The brief argues that Trump has a free speech right to make that argument.

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Trump's supporters have made that case, too, and House impeachment managers countered it in their brief, filed earlier Tuesday. The First Amendment doesn't apply here, the Democrats said, because the Senate "must decide whether to safeguard the nation's constitutional order by disqualifying an official who committed egregious misconduct." At a rally just before the riot, Trump told the crowd, "If you don’t fight like hell you're not going to have a country anymore." Trump's lawyers wrote that that statement had no connection to the violence at the Capitol and was instead "clearly about the need to fight for election security in general." The defense brief also says Trump can't be impeached because he's no longer in office, per CNBC; the House brief rebuts that, too. The Senate trial is scheduled to begin next week. (Read more Trump impeachment stories.)

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