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Trump Team Issues First Official Impeachment Response: 'Poisonous Partisanship'

01-20-2020
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President Donald Trump (AP Photo)
President Donald Trump (AP Photo)

In President Trump's first formal response to the House's impeachment effort, his legal team in a six-page letter branded it "poisonous partisanship," and "a lawless process."

Speaking in Texas, Trump blasted the Democrats, telling an audience his administration has achieved what no other administration has achieved before. "And what do I get out of it? Tell me. I get impeached. That's what I get, by these radical left lunatics," Trump said.

A member of the president's legal team, constitutional scholar Alan Dershowitz, believes the Democrats' case against Trump is basically dead on arrival in the Senate because the House charged the president on a non-impeachable offense.

Dershowitz told ABC's "ThisWeek" program, "You have a lot of evidence, disputed evidence that could go either way, but the vote was to impeach for abuse of power, which is not within the constitutional criteria for impeachment." 

House Impeachment Manager Rep. Adam Schiff says, "Abuse of power is at the center of what the Framers intended an impeachable offense to be."

But Dershowitz says, "Half of American presidents have been accused by their political enemies of abusing their power. The Framers didn't want to have that kind of criteria in the Constitution because it weaponizes impeachment for partisan purposes."

While the idea of instantly dismissing the impeachment articles is off the table, Dershowitz says there may be no need for witnesses if his opening argument succeeds.

Some senators say opening the door to more witnesses could stretch the trial out to as long as two months.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) told Fox News, "I think it's certainly possible for this trial to only go one or two weeks. On the other hand, if the Senate makes a decision to go down the road of additional witnesses, that could extend it to 6, 8 weeks or even longer. So, I think there are two paths here."

While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is still drafting the ground rules, some GOP senators are considering a 'kill switch' option, should the impeachment trial spiral out of control.  

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