White House counsel Pat Cipollone will be lead lawyer, backed by Trump’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow. They will be joined by Ken Starr, who headed Bill Clinton’s impeachment in the 1990s, and celebrity lawyer Alan Dershowitz.
The defence said that the articles of impeachment – passed by the majority-Democrat House of Representatives – “are a dangerous attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their president”.
“This is a brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election and interfere with the 2020 election,” the team said in a statement.
Trump has been impeached on charges that he abused his office to try and force Ukraine into digging up dirt on leading Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden by withholding US$400 million in military aid and a White House meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky.
He was also impeached for allegedly obstructing Congress.
“The articles of impeachment are constitutionally invalid on their face. They fail to allege any crime or violation of law whatsoever,” the defence team said.
The House managers, or prosecutors in the impeachment trial, filed their official brief on Saturday, in which they said that Trump’s conduct “is the Framers’ worst nightmare”, referring to the authors of the US Constitution.
“The case against the President of the United States is simple, the facts are indisputable, and the evidence is overwhelming,” the managers said in a joint statement after filing the brief.
“President Trump abused the power of his office to solicit foreign interference in our elections for his own personal political gain, thereby jeopardising our national security, the integrity of our elections, and our democracy.” (AFP)