U.S. President Donald Trump gesticulates while speaking during the Announcement of the Guidance on Constitutional Prayer in Public Schools at the White House in Washington, DC, on January 16, 2020.
Nicholas Kamm AFP Getty Images
President Donald Trump's legal team accused House Democrats of trying to reverse the 2016 election results in a document that outlines the White House's formal response to the two impeachment articles passed last month.
Trump's lawyers criticized the impeachment as a "dangerous attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their president" before the elections in November.
"This is a blatant and illegal attempt to overturn the 2016 election results and interfere with the 2020 elections, now just a few months away," said the president's legal team in its statement on Saturday.
The action was in response to a formal Senate summons notifying Trump of his impending trial and the charges against him. Supreme Court President John Roberts, who will preside over the trial, swore an oath to senators on Thursday to do "impartial justice" with the procedures scheduled to begin on Tuesday.
The House of Representatives, for its part, presented a brief Saturday describing his case against Trump and called it a "continuing threat to the nation". The brief accuses Trump of abandoning his oath to faithfully enforce the country's laws and betray public confidence.
"President Trump's misconduct poses a danger to our democratic processes, our national security and our commitment to the rule of law," states the House document. "He must be removed from office."
The House, after a three-month investigation, voted on December 18 largely along party lines to accuse Trump of allegations of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Trump is accused of abusing his power by requesting a foreign nation's interference in the 2020 presidential elections. He would have done so by freezing foreign aid to Ukraine in order to pressure his government to open political investigations against former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.
The president is also accused of obstructing Congress during his investigation by directing the White House to challenge legal subpoenas for witness testimonies and documents. Witness testimony has become one of the main bones of the party dispute between the Democratic-led House, which has the power to impeach, and the Republican-led Senate, which conducts the trial.
Although Trump was impeached in December, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi waited weeks to transmit the two impeachment articles to the Senate, while trying to pressure Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., To call additional witnesses during the Trump trial. McConnell has made no concessions, but several Republican senators have indicated that they are open to supporting more testimonies.
Trump is the third president in U.S. history to face an impeachment trial. His defense team at the trial will include Ken Starr, who led Whitewater's investigation in the 1990s that resulted in President Bill Clinton's impeachment in 1998.