White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters on Monday she does not believe the Democrat-led impeachment of President Donald Trump fits with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “vision” for America.
NBC News White House correspondent Geoff Bennett asked Conway what Trump was doing to observe Martin Luther King Jr. day.
Conway responded that the president — who was traveling to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Monday –“agrees with many of the things that Dr. Martin Luther King stood for and agreed with for many years, including unity and equality.”
She then said that Trump is not trying to tear the country apart through impeachment, as, she implied, congressional Democrats are.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 20, 2020
“I’ve held my opinion on it for a very long time,” Conway said, “but when you see the articles of impeachment they came out, I don’t think it was within Dr. King’s vision to have Americans dragged through a process where the president is not going to be removed from office, is not being charged with bribery, extortion, high crimes or misdemeanors.
“And I think that anybody who cares about ‘and justice for all’ on today or any day of the year will appreciate the fact that the president now will have a full-throttle defense on the facts, and everybody should have that.” she continued.
Trump’s legal team filed a lengthy legal brief with the Senate on Monday calling the House Democrats’ impeachment effort an “affront to the Constitution” that should be rejected on its face.
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Trump’s 110-page legal brief highlights that the House voted to impeach the president without alleging any criminal conduct.
Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution provides that the president “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
The president’s attorneys argued that “the Senate should speedily reject these deficient Articles of Impeachment and acquit the President.”
“The only threat to the Constitution that House Democrats have brought to light is their own degradation of the impeachment process and trampling of the separation of powers,” the legal brief read.
House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia argued on Fox News’ “Life, Liberty, and Levin” that House Democrats did not afford Trump the due-process rights that are a hallmark of equal justice under the law during their impeachment proceedings.
Collins pointed out that House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland had said that Trump bore the burden of proving his innocence, rather than have the presumption of being innocent until proven guilty.
Similarly, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in October, when launching the impeachment inquiry, that Trump would have the chance to “exonerate himself.”
“Did we all of a sudden suspend the Bill of Rights?” Collins asked Levin. “Did we suspend any modicum of due process?”
The lawmaker mentioned that while Democrats like Hoyer and Pelosi shifted the burden of proof to Trump, they also denied him the opportunity to call witnesses during the House hearings or have legal counsel present during the questioning of fact witnesses before the House Intelligence Committee.
“I don’t care if you think this president ought to be impeached or not,” Collins said. “This is irrelevant. This should bother everybody.”
“This is a political impeachment,” he said.
“It has been a political impeachment from day one.”
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day last year, Trump argued that King’s vision for a more equitable America had advanced under his administration.
The president pointed to record-low unemployment rates for African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans and Asian-Americans.
Trump also highlighted the “First Step Act,” passed with bipartisan support in December 2018, which is intended to give those who have been incarcerated for non-violent crimes a “second chance at life,” through new sentencing guidelines and education and job-training programs designed to make their transition back into society easier.
“We have also made great strides as a nation,” he said, “but we acknowledge that more work must be done for, in the words of Dr. King, ‘justice to roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.’”
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