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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.

Trump PACs raise over $82 million for first half of 2021

Former President Trump during the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Texas, on July 11. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Former President Trump's political action committees (PACs) raised more than $82 million in the first half of 2021, per Federal Election Commission filings published on Saturday.

Why it matters: It's a significant amount for a former president who's been banned from major social media platforms. It demonstrates his ability to raise huge sums of money should he choose to run for the presidency for a third time.

Updated 38 mins ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

Team USA's Caeleb Dressel celebrates winning gold in the final of the men's 50m freestyle swimming event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Gameson Sunday. Photo: Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images

🚨: Simone Biles won't compete in Olympic floor finals, individual vault or uneven bars

🏊: U.S. wins gold in men's 4x100-meter medley relay, earning Caeleb Dressel fifth gold — American Bobby Finke wins gold in men's 1,500-meter freestyle

🏊‍♀️: Katie Ledecky wins gold in women's 800m freestyle

🇬🇧: Britain wins gold in first-ever Olympic mixed 4x100m medley relay

💻: Japan tests teleporting games and "remote cheering"

🏳️‍⚧️: Axios at the Olympics: Games grapple with trans athletesTrans athletes see the Tokyo Games as a watershed moment

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage