Democrats have insisted for the second time on an impeachment trial against former President Trump, and a vote taken in the Senate on Tuesday on whether to proceed with a trial has indicated that the former president will have more than enough votes from Republicans for ultimate acquittal.
Shortly after senators were sworn in as jurors for the trial, Sen. Rand Paul called for a vote on whether the impeachment is constitutional, as Trump has already vacated the presidency, reported the Washington Times.
“If we are about to try to impeach a president, where is the chief justice? If the accused is no longer president, where is the constitutional power for impeachment?” said Paul.
Private citizens don’t get impeached, said Rand, “impeachment is for removal from office.”
He added, “And the accused here has already left office.” Democrats have insisted that their efforts to impeach former President Trump is both legal and justified.
“Democrats are wasting the nation’s time on a partisan vendetta. Hyper partisans are about to drag our great country down into the gutter of rancor and vitriol, the likes of which has never been seen in our nation’s history,” he said.
Democrats should instead be focusing on “doing the nation’s work,” with their new majorities in the House, Senate, and executive branch said Paul. “Democrats are wasting the nation’s time on a partisan vendetta against a man no longer in office.”
Paul’s motion was tabled on a 55-45 vote, but those 45 Republicans will be more than enough to acquit the president at the end of a trial.
Paul had said prior to the vote he was hopeful for support from at least 40 Republicans, proving, “the whole thing’s dead on arrival.”
“It’s almost as if they have no ability to exist except in opposition to Donald Trump,” Paul said.
“The history and precedent is clear. The Senate has the power to try former officials,” said Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, reported The Washington Times.
He called President Trump’s actions “the gravest offense ever committed by a president of the United States.” A successful impeachment against the former president would ban him from any future presidency, and removal from office.
The Constitution allows two punishments for impeachment—removal from office and a bar on future holding of office.
At issue is whether impeachment can be applied once someone has left office.
Five Republicans voted with Democrats Tuesday, signaling they believe a trial is in order—though they said that does not indicate their opinion of the outcome of a trial.
Those Republicans were Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.