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Impeachment managers say in brief that Trump's misconduct is "a danger" to national security

Justice Roberts' role in impeachment trial
Justice Roberts' role in impeachment trial 03:47

House impeachment managers submitted a 100-page brief Saturday arguing that the case for removing President Trump from office is clear. In a statement with the brief, the managers said the evidence against him is "overwhelming," asserting that the president "abused the power of his office to solicit foreign interference in our elections for his own personal political gain, thereby jeopardizing our national security, the integrity of our elections, and our democracy."

In the brief, the managers argue that Mr. Trump's "conduct is the Framers' worst nightmare," and say that the president "abandoned his oath to faithfully execute the laws and betrayed his public trust."

"President Trump's misconduct presents a danger to our democratic processes, our national security, and our commitment to the rule of law. He must be removed from office," the managers said in the brief.

The managers also called on senators not to prejudge the proceedings. 

"The country is watching to see how the Senate responds. History will judge each Senator's willingness to rise above partisan differences, view the facts honestly, and defend the Constitution. The outcome of these proceedings will determine whether generations to come will enjoy a safe and secure democracy in which the President is not a king, and in which no one, particularly the President, is above the law," the managers say in the brief.

The brief from the president's legal team is due Monday. White House counsel Pat Cipollone and the president's personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow, will be the lead counsels in the president's defense. Attorneys Robert Ray, Ken Starr and Alan Dershowitz will also be on the president's trial legal team.

Sources close to the president's legal team held a conference call with reporters Saturday afternoon to discuss the legal team's strategy. The sources argued that the articles of impeachment "are defective in their entirety."

The president's legal team released its own six-page response to the summons for the Senate trial, making similar arguments that the White House and Trump allies made during the House proceedings. 

"The articles of impeachment are constitutionally invalid on their face," the response from White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump personal attorney Jay Sekulow reads. "They fail to allege any crime or violation of the law whatsoever, let alone 'high crimes and misdemeanors,' as required by the Constitution. They are the result of a lawless process that violated basic due process and fundamental fairness. Nothing in these articles could permit even beginning to consider removing a duly elected president or warrant nullifying an election and subverting the will of the American people." 

The House voted to impeach Mr. Trump on two articles — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — in December. The initial impeachment inquiry stemmed from concerns about a July 25 call between Mr. Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which Mr. Trump asked Zelensky to open investigations into a conspiracy theory about the 2016 election and former Vice President Joe Biden. 

Democrats have also argued that evidence and testimony from several current and former administration officials show that Mr. Trump ordered a hold on aid to Ukraine until Zelensky agreed to open an investigation into Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

What to expect as impeachment trial commences... 03:40

Some new related documents have come to light since then, and Democrats argue that this new evidence should be submitted in the trial, along with additional witnesses.

Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, wants to be called as a witness during the trial, claiming he has knowledge of the efforts to convince the Ukrainian president to open an investigation into Biden. Parnas has also said Mr. Trump tried to fire former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch "at least four or five times" before she was eventually removed from her post. Parnas has been indicted on campaign finance charges.

Meanwhile, the Government Accountability Office released an opinion on Thursday finding that the White House Office of Management and Budget violated the law when it withheld military aid from Ukraine. Documents showing concerns by Pentagon officials about the hold on aid were released earlier in January, as first reported by Just Security.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to offer a resolution designating the rules for the impeachment trial in the Senate on Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. It's not yet known whether new witnesses and evidence will be permitted in the trial. After the Senate votes on the rules, the impeachment managers and the president's lawyers will present their arguments to the Senate.

Paula Reid contributed to this report

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