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Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

More than 140 constitutional lawyers and scholars wrote in a letter Friday that the First Amendment claims made by former President Trump's lawyers are “legally frivolous” and do “not prevent the Senate” from convicting him during his impeachment trial, set to begin next week, per the New York Times.

Driving the news: Trump’s lawyers claim that the former president's conduct surrounding the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol siege is protected by the First Amendment. They also argue Trump can’t be tried after leaving office.

What they’re saying: “Although we differ from one another in our politics, disagree on many questions of constitutional law, and take different approaches to understanding the Constitution’s text, history, and context, we all agree that any First Amendment defense raised by President Trump’s attorneys would be legally frivolous,” the group of lawyers and scholars wrote in the letter, shared with the Times.

  • “In other words, we all agree that the First Amendment does not prevent the Senate from convicting President Trump and disqualifying him from holding future office,” they added.
  • "As scholars of constitutional law, we know there are many difficult questions of First Amendment law. But the permissibility of President Trump’s impeachment trial is not one of them."
  • "The First Amendment is no defense to the article of impeachment leveled against the former President, because the First Amendment does not apply in impeachment proceedings; because the president does not have a First Amendment right to incite a mob and then sit back and do nothing as the hostile mob invades the Capitol and terrorizes Congress; or because, in context, President Trump engaged in unlawful incitement."
"Accordingly, while we express no view here on the ultimate question of whether the Senate should convict President Trump and disqualify him from future office, we urge the Senate not to base its decision on the erroneous understanding of the First Amendment urged by President Trump’s lawyers."

Go deeper: Impeachment manager fleshes out case against Trump

Go deeper

Updated Feb 4, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Trump lawyers decline impeachment managers' request for him to testify

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump's lawyers on Thursday declined lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.)'s request that he testify under oath before or during his Senate trial next week, calling the invitation a "public relations stunt."

Why it matters: Trump has been charged by the House with inciting the insurrection at the Capitol, but has disputed "many factual allegations set forth in the article of impeachment," Raskin notes. Testimony under oath would allow the former president to clarify "critical facts" about his role in the events of Jan. 6.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
31 mins ago - Economy & Business

The Fed could be firing up economic stimulus in disguise

Federal Reserve governor Lael Brainard at a "Fed Listens" event. Photo: Eric Baradat / AFP via Getty Images.

Even as global growth expectations increase and governments pile on fiscal spending measures central bankers are quietly restarting recession-era bond-buying programs.

Driving the news: Comments Tuesday from Fed governor Lael Brainard suggest the Fed may be jumping onboard the global monetary policy rethink and restarting a program used following the 2008 global financial crisis.

Democrats' hypocrisy moment

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Ray Tamarra/Getty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo should be facing explicit calls to resign from President Biden on down, if you apply the standard that Democrats set for similar allegations against Republicans. And it's not a close call.

Why it matters: The #MeToo moment saw men in power run out of town for exploiting young women. Democrats led the charge. So the silence of so many of them seems more strange — and unacceptable by their own standards — by the hour.