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‘Impeachment charges against Trump brazen, unlawful’

UNITED States (U.S.) President Donald Trump’s legal team has issued its first formal response to the impeachment charges against him, describing them as a “dangerous attack” on democracy.

The document said the impeachment articles failed to allege any crime and were a “brazen” attempt to interfere with the 2020 presidential elections.

The response came as the Democrats filed their brief for the proceedings.

Opening statements in the trial will begin next week.

Trump is only the third U.S. president in history to face an impeachment trial. He is accused of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. He has denied wrongdoing and branded the case against him as a “hoax”.

The House of Representatives, controlled by the Democrats, impeached the president last month. The Senate, controlled by Trump’s Republican Party, will decide whether to convict and remove him from office.

A two-thirds majority of 67 votes in the 100-seat Senate is required to convict and oust Trump. But because there are only 45 Democrats (along with 53 Republicans and two Independents), the president is widely expected to be cleared.

In their brief filed earlier on Saturday, House Democrats laid out their arguments for why Trump should be removed from office.

They said the president had “abandoned his oath to faithfully execute the laws and betrayed his public trust”, and called his conduct the “worst nightmare” of the country’s founding fathers.

READ ALSO: U.S. Senate prepares for Trump impeachment trial

The six-page response outlines the defence the president’s legal team expects to use in the upcoming impeachment trial.

The team, led by White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow, said they were challenging the impeachment on both procedural and constitutional grounds, claiming that the president did nothing wrong and had not been treated fairly.

They said the president should be convicted and removed from office “to avoid serious and long term damage to our democratic values and the nation’s security.”

“The case against the president of the United States is simple, the facts are indisputable, and the evidence is overwhelming,” they said.

“The only remaining question is whether the members of the Senate will accept and carry out the responsibility placed on them by the Framers of our Constitution and their constitutional Oaths,” they added.

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