In a legal brief filed with the House this Tuesday, former President Trump's legal team denied that he incited the crowd with his Jan. 6 at a rally before the U.S. Capitol was attacked by a mob of his supporters. They also argued that Trump's words were simply a matter of him exercising his right to free speech.
"It is denied that President Trump incited the crowd to engage in destructive behavior. It is denied that the phrase 'if you don't fight like hell you're not going to have a country anymore' had anything to do with the action at the Capitol as it was clearly about the need to fight for election security in general, as evidenced by the recording of the speech. It is denied that President Trump intended to interfere with the counting of Electoral votes," the brief stated, according to the New York Times' Maggie Haberman.
As CNN's Jim Acosta points out, the brief also states that the Constitution "requires that a person actually hold office to be impeached" and that Trump was exercising his First Amendment right to question election results.
Legal experts weighed on Twitter, slamming the brief as "constitutional nonsense," among other things.
I sure hope Trump didn't actually pay those lawyers for that impeachment trial "filing".— Bradley P. Moss (@Bradley P. Moss)1612287728.0
The House Managers wrote a scholarly 80-page legal brief outlining their case. Trump's lawyers wrote.... this garb… https://t.co/yjr67IWUZi— Bradley P. Moss (@Bradley P. Moss)1612287402.0
Each of the main arguments in Trump’s just filed impeachment brief is false of course you can prosecute an ex pres… https://t.co/A6HSrCULkI— Norm Eisen (@Norm Eisen)1612287339.0
The First Amendment defense in Trump’s new brief is (like the rest of it) constitutional nonsense You can’t shout… https://t.co/LDzo8oImJI— Norm Eisen (@Norm Eisen)1612287122.0
Total pernicious bull. But fortunately for Trump, Republican senators are not jurists and few appear to be reason… https://t.co/KxgxVlrBv7— Steven Mazie (@Steven Mazie)1612287363.0
@Acosta In items 1, 2 & 4, the legal arguments are dubious at best & false assertions are made in his defense. In I… https://t.co/Rl9X9qJfRD— Joseph Robertson (@Joseph Robertson)1612287922.0
ME, wearing tactical gear and carrying flex-cuffs and a floor plan of the tunnels underneath the Capitol as I crawl… https://t.co/IZnpOf15LS— Gary Legum (@Gary Legum)1612287659.0
Trump's lawyers take dangerous steps to embrace the Big Lie of election fraud: "Insufficient evidence exists upon w… https://t.co/uZmPeu5VP3— Elie Honig (@Elie Honig)1612288015.0
When you've been on the case for 36 hours, 14 pages of recycled prose is all you can muster.— Harry Litman (@Harry Litman)1612287141.0