President Donald Trump’s legal team will go into his Senate trial on Tuesday arguing that he should never have been impeached because his conduct over Ukraine does not amount to a criminal offense.
First details of the President’s counter-argument are emerging from a document the White House sent to Capitol Hill on Saturday night and in television interviews of one of his new legal advisers. Senate Republicans, who will serve as jurors, are quickly buying into his new defense.
Trump was impeached by the House last month on charges of abuse of power and obstructing Congress over his scheme to pressure Ukraine for political favors — including the announcement of a probe into Joe Biden, a possible 2020 election opponent.
Harvard Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz, who has just joined Trump’s legal brain trust, told CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that he would borrow arguments made by former Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Curtis during the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson in 1868.
“He argued successfully to the Senate that criminal-like conduct is required. That argument prevailed. I will be making that argument as a lawyer on behalf of the President’s defense team against impeachment,” Dershowitz said.