McConnell Votes to Declare Trump Impeachment Trial ‘Unconstitutional’

POLITICS & POLICY
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell walks through the Capitol in Washington, D.C., December 16, 2020. (Erin Scott/Reuters)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) voted in favor of a resolution declaring the impeachment trial of former President Trump “unconstitutional” on Tuesday.

The point of order resolution was put forward by McConnell’s colleague from Kentucky, Rand Paul, and effectively forced Republicans to declare on the record whether they consider the impeachment trial constitutional, given that it’s taking place after Trump has left office. The resolution failed after a majority of senators voted against it, meaning the impeachment trial will go ahead as planned.

However, only five Republicans voted against the resolution: Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. At the close of the impeachment trial itself, at least 17 Republican senators would need to join Democrats in order to convict Trump.

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“I think there will be enough support on” the point-of-order resolution “to show there’s no chance they can impeach the president,” Paul told reporters before the vote on Tuesday. “If 34 people support my resolution that this is an unconstitutional proceeding, it shows they don’t have the votes and we’re basically wasting our time.”

Senator Collins said following the vote that there would be little chance of an impeachment conviction.

“I think it’s pretty obvious from the vote today that it is extraordinary unlikely that the president will be convicted,” Collins told The New York Times. “Just do the math.”

McConnell was reportedly pleased with the idea of impeaching Trump, after the former president incited a mob of his supporters to amass at the Capitol on January 6, though the majority leader later said publicly that he hadn’t decided whether to vote to convict. The mob breached the Capitol and forced lawmakers to evacuate, and five people died in the riots including a Capitol police officer.

An impeachment conviction could allow the Senate to bar Trump from running for office again, however a number of Republican senators have come out against the impeachment push. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said it would be “arrogant” for the Senate to prevent Trump from running again.

“Voters get to decide that,” Rubio told Chis Wallace on Fox News Sunday. “Who are we to tell voters who they can vote for in the future?”

Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas also voiced skepticism regarding the impeachment trail.

“I think a lot of Americans are going to think it’s strange that the Senate is spending its time trying to convict and remove from office a man who left office a week ago,” Cotton told the Associated Press on Monday.

Send a tip to the news team at NR.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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1 Comment

  1. So “McConnell was reportedly pleased with the idea of impeaching Trump, after the former president incited a mob of his supporters to amass at the Capitol on January 6”
    Talk about inflammatory statements. In 90% of all other reporting it would be allegedly incited rather than stated as a fact.

    Other than the fact that this farce of a trial is truly unconstitutional due to the fact Trump is no longer the sitting President and no longer eligible to be removed from an office he isn’t in any longer. You can not impeach a private citizen from an office they are not holding. Second if you are impeaching him under his previous status as President. The Constitution states very distinctly and directly that the impeachment trial of a President of the US MUST be presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. That is spelled out very clearly, no ambiguity there. So a Senator from his opposing party, who has already determined him guilty, can not server as judge and preside over his impeachment trial. That would show it to be the kangaroo court it is. Articles written in less than a day of the event, no investigation, no defense, no committee to review the articles. No opposition allowed period. This trial has already determined Trump guilty without even a chance to defend himself. They have threatened anyone who disagrees with them on this matter with censure and even to be removed from House or Senate offices themselves for disagreeing with this impeachment or trial. That level of coercion being carried out publicly without fear shows what the next four years holds for us. Disagree and face doxing, threats loss of job, revenue and maybe even freedom.
    Sounds a lot like facism to me.

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