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Democrats Respond to Trump’s Official Statement on Impeachment Charges

Democratic House Managers say that the White House statement is “naked, unapologetic and insidious” corruption.

Rep. Adam Schiff speaks during a news conference to announce impeachment managers on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, January 15, 2020.

Responding to President Donald Trump’s official answer to the impeachment charges against him now facing trial in the U.S. Senate, the Democratic House Managers assigned to prosecute the case rejected Sunday morning the president’s claim his conduct was “perfect” by saying there is “a different word for it: impeachable.”

Entitled “The Answer of President Donald J. Trump” (pdf), the six-page document issued Saturday by the White House is the official response — authored by Trump attorneys Jay Sekulow and Pat Cipollone — to the impeachment charges (pdf) approved by the House and now before the Senate.

In their statement, Trump’s legal team characterizes the case against their client as a “brazen and unlawful” effort to harm the president politically ahead of the 2020 election and reiterates the claim he did nothing wrong by leveraging the power of his office — including withholding approved military aid for Urkaine in an effort to gain advantage of his Democratic rival Joe Biden — for his own political purposes.

According to the New York Times:

The president’s lawyers did not deny any of the core facts underlying Democrats’ charges, conceding what considerable evidence and testimony in the House has shown: that he withheld $391 million in aid and a White House meeting from Ukraine and asked the country’s president to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son, Hunter Biden.

But they said Mr. Trump broke no laws and was acting entirely appropriately and within his powers when he did so, echoing his repeated protestations of his own innocence. They argued that he was not seeking political advantage, but working to root out corruption in Ukraine.

Led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the other six House Managers are Reps. Jerrold Nadler, Zoe Lofgren, Hakeem Jeffries, Val Demings, Jason Crow, and Sylvia Garcia.

“The House has presented powerful evidence that President Trump committed one of the most serious abuses of power in the history of the American Presidency by withholding military aid from an ally at war to coerce them to help him cheat in the next election. He then obstructed Congress in order to cover up his own misconduct,” the lawmakers said in their joint statement.

“Rather than honestly address the evidence against him, the President’s latest filing makes the astounding claim that pressuring Ukraine to interfere in our election by announcing investigations that would damage a political opponent and advance his reelection is the President’s way of fighting corruption. It is not. Rather it is corruption itself, naked, unapologetic and insidious. This is precisely why the President must be removed from office.”

Rep. Nadler, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, appeared on “Face The Nation” on Sunday to further make the case.

“There is ample evidence, overwhelming evidence” that the president has committed impeachable acts, Nadler said during the interview.

“Any jury would convict in three minutes flat that the president betrayed his country by breaking the law. The GAO, the General Accountability Office, just came out this week and pointed out that withholding money from Ukraine that Congress had appropriated is against the law,” he added. “But we didn’t need them to tell us that.”

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