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Trump, Democrats offer duelling arguments ahead of Senate impeachment trial

Donald Trump's Saturday answer to the Senate's formal impeachment summons calls the two articles of impeachment passed by the House last month "a dangerous attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their president."

Impeachment a 'brazen attempt' to overturn 2016 election, says Trump's legal team

U.S. President Donald Trump's legal team is sending the Senate a fiery response to its impeachment summons, outlining the defences it expects to use in the upcoming trial. (Evan Vucci/The Associated Press)

The Democratic lawmakers leading the impeachment case against U.S President Donald Trump said on Saturday the Republican president must be removed from office to protect national security and preserve the country's system of government.

In a brief, the lawmakers laid out their arguments supporting charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress against the president.

"The Senate should convict and remove President Trump to avoid serious and long-term damage to our democratic values and the nation's security," the lawmakers said, for the first time formally calling for the Senate to convict the president and remove him from office.

"The case against the president of the United States is simple, the facts are indisputable, and the evidence is overwhelming," they said.

Trump's legal team issued a resounding rejection of the House of Representatives' impeachment, calling the charges against Trump an attempt to overturn the 2016 election.

"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 document released on Saturday.

Watch: What makes the Senate impeachment trial different than a regular court case?

Joseph Moreno, a former Department of Justice national security prosecutor, says Republicans will control many things during the Senate impeachment trial. 1:18

It was the first time Trump had formally addressed the merits of the two articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — that the Democratic-led House approved late last year.

The two articles, aimed at ousting Trump from office, form the basis of a trial that will begin in earnest on Tuesday in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Trump, at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla., for the weekend, played a round of golf on Saturday.

Trump is accused of abuse of office for pressuring Ukraine to investigate a political rival, former vice-president Joe Biden, and of obstructing Congress in its investigation into his conduct.

"An acquittal would also provide license to President Trump and his successors to use taxpayer dollars for personal political ends," the Democratic lawmakers' brief said.

Trump has denied wrongdoing and has accused Democrats of a partisan-driven effort to undo his 2016 election victory.

The Senate trial is unlikely to lead to Trump's ouster, as no Republican senators have voiced support for doing so.

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