Trump's lawyers reject accusations of inciting Capitol riot, call impeachment unconstitutional

Former President Donald Trump did not incite the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol and cannot be banned from holding office again because he is a private citizen, Mr. Trump’s lawyers said Tuesday in a legal brief ahead of his Senate impeachment trial.

“The 45th President believes and therefore avers that as a private citizen, the Senate has no jurisdiction over his ability to hold office,” Mr. Trump’s lawyers wrote. They also said the Constitution “requires that a person actually hold office to be impeached.”

Trump lawyers David Schoen and Bruce Castor Jr. said Mr. Trump cannot be punished for exercising his First Amendment rights when he repeatedly challenged the results of the presidential election. Democrats say Mr. Trump should be convicted for inciting the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

The legal brief rejects Democrats’ accusation that Mr. Trump made false claims about widespread election fraud. “Insufficient evidence exists upon which a reasonable jurist could conclude that the 45th President’s statements were accurate or not, and he therefore denies they were false,” the lawyers wrote.

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