House managers cite 'overwhelming' evidence against Trump in their brief to Senate

The White House called the impeachment a "dangerous attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their President."

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By Alicia Victoria Lozano

House managers in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump filed their brief to the Senate on Saturday outlining a "compelling case" against Trump, who will deliver his own brief to the chamber on Monday.

The House managers, seven Democratic congressional leaders who will try the case against Trump during the Senate trial starting next week, say in the brief that the evidence against Trump is "overwhelming" and proves he used his official power to pressure Ukraine to interfere in the upcoming 2020 election.

It details instances in which members of Trump's internal circle defied congressional subpoenas and refused to cooperate with a House investigation. The House managers called Trump's behavior "the Framers' worst nightmare" and said Trump's actions present a "danger to our democratic processes."

"Through his obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry, President Trump attempted to place himself above the law and undermined the fundamental Constitutional principles on which our Nation was founded," Congressional leaders said in a statement. "The President’s gross abuse of power and obstruction of Congress reflect a pattern of misconduct and an ongoing threat to the Nation."

In an emailed statement, the White House called the two articles of impeachment against Trump 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—now just months away," the statement read, in part. "The highly partisan and reckless obsession with impeaching the President began the day he was inaugurated and continues to this day."

Trump's trial brief is due Monday, and the House must file its rebuttal by Tuesday morning. The impeachment trial starts Tuesday afternoon.

Trump's legal team, led by White House counsel Pat Cipollone and the president's personal lawyer Jay Sekulow, challenged the impeachment on constitutional and procedural grounds, accusing House Democrats of mistreating the president since Day One.

On Friday, Trump named Ken Starr, the prosecutor whose investigation two decades ago led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, along with former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, to his defense team.

The 111-page brief and the White House's fiery response provided a preview of what the public can expect from the trial. The brief highlights testimony from dozens of witnesses, including ambassadors and national security officials, concerned by Trump's actions.

Throughout the brief, the House managers repeatedly accused Trump of abusing his power by inviting foreign interference for his own personal gain. They say he "abandoned his oath to faithfully execute the laws and betrayed his public trust" by asking Ukraine to investigate political rivals.

The House managers pointed to a July 25, 2019, call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in which Trump asked his counterpart to “do us a favor.” That favor, the House managers allege, was for Ukraine to publicly announce two investigations that could have benefited Trump politically.

One involved former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, and their dealings with Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings. The second concerned the 2016 election and a “debunked conspiracy theory” that Ukraine interfered on Hillary Clinton’s behalf in her bid for president, the brief says.

“These theories were baseless,” the House manager say in the brief, adding that members of the U.S. intelligence community, special counsel Robert Mueller and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence all dismissed the notion that Joe Biden acted improperly.

The House managers are U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff from California; Jerry Nadler of New York; Hakeem Jeffries of New York; Jason Crow of Colorado; Zoe Lofgren of California; Val Demings of Florida; and Sylvia Garcia of Texas.