Trump’s legal team filed its first official response to the House’s impeachment charge later Tuesday, denying that the former president sought to subvert the election results and incited the violence at the Capitol. The submission foreshadowed Trump’s legal strategy for the trial, which begins next Tuesday but is not expected to last as long as last year’s three-week trial.
Trump’s lawyers, Bruce Castor and David Schoen, also advanced the former president’s false claims that the election results were “suspect,” asserting that Trump has a First Amendment right to express that view.
“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,” Castor and Schoen wrote, adding that Trump “denies” it is false to say he won the election “in a landslide.”
Castor and Schoen only joined Trump’s legal team in the last few days, after the initial defense attorneys pulled out over disagreements about whether to buttress Trump’s false claims about the election. Even some of Trump’s allies are warning the legal team against leaning into Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations as part of the defense strategy.
“If they start trying to prove that Georgia and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin were stolen, that’s when you’re going to lose everybody,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said. “That’s when most of us will be ready to move on.”
The 14-page brief begins with a typo misspelling “United States Senate” on the first page.