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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - After refusing to cooperate with the Democratic Party-led impeachment probe in the House of Representatives, President Donald Trump will on Monday offer his first comprehensive defense, before his trial begins in earnest in the Senate.
Trump, only the fourth of 45 American presidents to face the possibility of being ousted by impeachment, has to meet a noon (1700 GMT) deadline to submit his written defense. He is charged with abusing the powers of his office by asking Ukraine to investigate a Democratic political rival, Joe Biden, and obstructing a congressional inquiry into his conduct.
“This is a brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election and interfere with the 2020 election - now just months away,” Trump’s lawyers argued in a six-page initial response to the charges on Saturday.
Senior administration officials said Monday’s document will offer a more detailed and aggressive defense in arguing that Trump is innocent of the charges and should not be removed from office, as Democrats are demanding.
While the Republican-controlled Senate is highly unlikely to remove Trump from office, it is important for the Republican president to diminish the Democratic accusations as a partisan witch-hunt. He needs to limit the political damage to his re-election bid as he seeks a second term in November.
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