After dismissing the impeachment 'hoax' for months, the United States President Donald Trump is expected to submit his first comprehensive defence on January 20 by 17:00 GMT. Before the Republican-led Senate begins only the third impeachment trial against a US President, Trump has to submit a written response to the charges of 'obstruction of Congress' and 'abuse of power'.
The Democrats have accused Trump of abusing his constitutional powers by asking his Ukrainian counterpart to start an investigation against political rival Joe Biden and withholding military assistance in return. The 45th US President has repeatedly said that 'crazy Nancy Pelosi' and 'Do Nothing Democrats' have planned the entire impeachment and also claims to have done nothing wrong. In the first formal response, even Trump's legal team has called the impeachment articles submitted by Democrats as 'constitutionally invalid'.
The legal team, led by the White House counsel Pat Cipollone, filed a six-page response to the summons and notified Trump of the impeachment trial which has now been proceeded to the Senate. In the document, the team accused Democrats of “brazen and unlawful attempt” to nullify the results of the 2016 presidential elections and interfere in the upcoming 2020 elections. The filing also claimed that the impeachment charges were the result of a lawless process that violated basic due process and fundamental fairness.
The House Prosecutors had earlier alleged, in the impeachment charges, that Trump used his official powers to pressure a foreign government to interfere in a US election for his personal political gain. They wrote that the US President then attempted to cover up his scheme by obstructing Congress’s investigation into his misconduct. Trump’s defence team got a minor setback when the federal watchdog, Government Accountability Office (GAO), confirmed that the President violated the law by withholding Congressionally-approved military aid to Ukraine.
The watchdog said in a statement on January 16, “Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law. OMB withheld funds for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act (ICA).”
(With inputs from Agencies)