Updated Jan 18, 2020

Trump responds to articles of impeachment, calls process "a dangerous attack"

President Trump in the White House on Jan. 17. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump's defense team released their arguments on Saturday for the impeachment trial in the Senate starting next week — and House Democrats quickly labeled the president's response as fundamentally wrong.

What they're saying: Trump's full response to House Democrat's case for impeachment argues the articles "violate the Constitution" and are "defective in their entirety." His defense further characterized the impeachment process as "nothing more than a dangerous attack on the American people themselves and their right to vote."

  • Trump's legal team plans to argue the first article of impeachment, abuse of power, does "lasting damage to the separation of powers," and alleges there's no such violation of the law.
  • Trump's team also plans to argue that the president "was within his rights" to ignore requests from Congress for testimony and witnesses throughout the impeachment process, per CNN. House Democrats have indicted Trump for this action in their second article of impeachment — obstruction of Congress.

The other side: Trump's answer to articles of impeachment "is more like a fundraising email" than a statement addressing constitutional law, a Democratic aide working on the impeachment trial told reporters Saturday.

  • "This answer is not like any answer we've ever seen in an impeachment. The House and the Senate have done fifteen," the aide said. "If the following is not impeachable, nothing is impeachable."

The bottom line: A senior administration official predicted that the trial would take roughly two weeks and culminate in an acquittal by Feb. 4, when Trump is due to give his State of the Union address, Axios previously reported.

  • House Democrats working on the trial believe Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will deviate from precedent set in the Clinton impeachment trial, one aide told reporters Saturday.

Read the president's full response to articles of impeachment:

Go deeper: Trump's Fox-friendly Senate trial team

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Trump hits back at Mattis: "I gave him a new life"

President Trump speaks at the White House. Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump unloaded on his former defense secretary via Twitter on Wednesday, hours after James Mattis condemned him for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in his response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"

Obama praises young protesters, urges mayors to pursue police reforms

Former President Barack Obama called on all mayors to review their use-of-force policies and commit to policing reform in a virtual town hall Wednesday hosted by the Obama Foundation's My Brothers Keepers Alliance.

Why it matters: Obama has addressed the killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed on social media and in a Medium post, but this was his first time speaking about the past week's events on camera. His voice will add weight to the growing pressure on local, state and federal officials to pursue policing reforms.

James Mattis condemns Trump as a threat to the Constitution

Mattis on Fox in Septemnber 2019 in New York City. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis condemned President Trump for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in a statement to The Atlantic on Wednesday, saying he was "appalled" at the president's response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

Why it matters: Trump’s former defense secretary had refrained from publicly criticizing his former boss since resigning in 2018.