Trump can't be convicted because he isn't president any more, lawyers say

Trump can't be convicted because he isn't president any more, lawyers say
Donald Trump cannot be convicted in his impeachment trial because he is no longer president, his lawyers said.
In a brief submitted to the Senate, lawyers Bruce Castor and David Schoen do not refer to Mr Trump as the former president, but as the "45th President".
"Since the 45th President is no longer 'President', the clause 'shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for…' is impossible for the Senate to accomplish, and thus the current proceeding before the Senate is void ab initio as a legal nullity that runs patently contrary to the plain language of the Constitution," the brief reads.
Capitol rioters didn't vote in the election they said was stolen
Donald Trump is facing his second impeachment trial. (AP)
The Senate is moving ahead with the impeachment trial for several reasons, including the ability to prohibit Mr Trump from running for office again.
But because Mr Trump is no longer president, they can't stop him running again either, the brief claims.
The Senate has disagreed, holding a vote last week to decide the impeachment trial was constitutional.
Democrats have also pointed to the 1876 impeachment trial of a Secretary of War who resigned beforehand.
The brief also argued Mr Trump's comments at a rally immediately before the Capitol riots were not "seditious".
"It is denied that the phrase 'if you don't fight like hell you're not going to have a country anymore' had anything to do with the action at the Capitol as it was clearly about the need to fight for election security in general, as evidenced by the recording of the speech," the brief read.
"It is denied that President Trump intended to interfere with the counting of Electoral votes."
In a 77-page legal brief filed to Congress, House impeachment managers drew a direct link between Mr Trump's speech and the Capitol riots.
The man seen wheeling a Confederate battle flag during the Capitol violence had been identified as Kevin Seefried. (Getty)
Rioting supporters of President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the the US Capitol in Washington. (AP)
"His conduct endangered the life of every single Member of Congress, jeopardised the peaceful transition of power and line of succession, and compromised our national security," the Democratic managers of the impeachment case wrote.
"This is precisely the sort of constitutional offence that warrants disqualification from federal office."
Mr Trump's lawyers have also said a phone call between the then-president and the Georgia Secretary of State as "irrelevant to any matter properly before the Senate".
Protesters and rioters surrounding the US Capitol building. (AP)
Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger is the top elections administrator in Georgia.
In the phone call, surreptitiously recorded by someone in the Secretary of State's office, Mr Trump told the Georgia official to "find" enough votes to overturn the election results in the state.
"It is denied that President Trump threatened Secretary Raffensberger," the brief read.
"It is denied that President Trump acted improperly in that telephone call in any way."
The brief reiterated that since Mr Trump is no longer president, the issue is a "legal nullity".
Trump tells Georgia officials to 'find votes' to make him winner
Police stand guard the day after riots at the US Capitol. (AP)
Two-thirds of senators need to vote in favour of impeachment in order to convict Mr Trump.
No president has ever been convicted in a Senate trial.
The Democratic impeachment managers wrote that there was no get-out clause if a president committed "treachery in his final days".
"There is no 'January Exception' to impeachment or any other provision of the Constitution," the Democrats wrote.
"A president must answer comprehensively for his conduct in office from his first day in office through his last."