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Impeachment expert says Trump’s lawyers distorted his work ‘quite badly’

Michigan State University law professor Brian Kalt, a leading impeachment scholar, told Reuters in an email on Monday that his research was "definitely not" accurately described in the 78-page document.

By: Reuters |
February 9, 2021 8:31:26 am
Explained: For Trump, an escape, not an exonerationWhile he is free of the impeachment threat, Trump still faces possible legal jeopardy stemming from his efforts to subvert the election through false claims of fraud. (File)

A US law professor who studies impeachment says former President Donald Trump’s lawyers misrepresented his research in a brief laying out arguments they will make at his U.S. Senate impeachment trial that starts on Tuesday.

Michigan State University law professor Brian Kalt, a leading impeachment scholar, told Reuters in an email on Monday that his research was “definitely not” accurately described in the 78-page document.

“They didn’t have to be disingenuous and misleading like this,” Kalt later said on Twitter, adding that “in several places, they misrepresent what I wrote quite badly.”

Kalt’s name is mentioned 15 times in Trump’s pretrial brief, despite Kalt last month having signed an open letter from 150 legal experts that explained why the impeachment proceeding against Trump is supported by the U.S. Constitution.

Kalt said he was especially surprised to see a law review article he wrote cited as supporting the following claim by Trump’s lawyers: “When a President is no longer in office, the objective of an impeachment ceases.”

Kalt said in an email that the section of his article cited by Trump “actually says the opposite.”

“I can assure you that it was never our intention to in any way mislead as to Professor Kalt’s position,” David Schoen, one of Trump’s two lead lawyers, said in a statement.

“Ultimately Professor Kalt did not agree with our position, but he did explain it well and we wanted to give him credit for that.”

The U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 13 charged Trump with “incitement of insurrection” based on his speech to a crowd of followers shortly before many of them stormed the Capitol, sending lawmakers into hiding and leaving five people dead including a police officer.

The Senate will hold a trial this week to determine whether to convict the Republican businessman-turned-politician. The 100-member body could bar Trump from again serving in public office, although the trial is expected to result in Trump’s acquittal for lack of a two-thirds majority required to convict.

In a pretrial brief, Schoen and his co-counsel Bruce Castor Jr. denied Trump had encouraged violence, assailed Democrats and again challenged the constitutionality of the proceedings.

Kalt is not the only prominent lawyer to argue the Senate trial is constitutional. They also include Washington attorney Charles Cooper, an influential conservative, who made that argument in a weekend opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal.

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