Former President Trump’s slap-dash impeachment legal team filed their first official response to impeachment charges on Tuesday, arguing that whether or not Trump instigated a riot is a “moot” point since the Senate can impeach a president who is no longer in office. The lawyers argued that, either way, Trump’s remarks at the Jan 6. rally, where he told his supporters to “fight like hell,” were protected as free speech. Trump’s legal team has been hastily assembled after the initial team fell apart last week—which may explain the typo in Tuesday’s brief.
The brief was filed in response to one filed by House impeachment managers Tuesday morning in which lawmakers claimed Trump’s incitement of supporters who stormed the Capitol was a “betrayal” that can’t go unpunished. “It is one thing for an official to pursue legal processes for contesting election results,” the managers wrote in the brief. “It is something else entirely for that official to incite violence against the government, and to obstruct the finalization of election results, after judges and election officials conclude that his challenges lack proof and legal merit.”