Allies of former President Trump are waging an intense pressure campaign aimed at convincing GOP senators to vote against his conviction in next month’s impeachment trial.
House Democrats will walk the impeachment charge of “incitement of insurrection” to the Senate on Monday evening, are hoping that strong Republican denunciations of Trump after the Jan. 6 riot will translate into a conviction and a separate vote to bar Trump from holding office again. But GOP passions appear to have cooled since the insurrection, and now that Trump’s presidency is over, Republican senators who will serve as jurors in the trial are rallying to his legal defense, as they did during his first impeachment trial last year.
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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell must still haggle over the basic structure of the trial, including length of arguments, motions to call witnesses, and a possible motion to dismiss the trial at its outset.
“I think the trial is stupid, I think it’s counterproductive,” said Sen. Marco Rubio.Rubio stated that “the first chance I get to vote to end this trial, I’ll do it” because he believes it would be bad for the country and further inflame partisan divisions.
Some democrats are saying that Donald Trump leaving office does not prevent the Senate from holding an impeachment trial, a view seconded by several legal scholars and Sen. Mitt Romney, the only member of the GOP to vote to convict former President Trump in his first original impeachment trial.
“I believe that what is being alleged and what we saw, which is incitement to insurrection, is an impeachable offense,” Romney said. “If not, what is?”
Mitt Romney decided to vote to convict Trump when the Senate acquitted the then-president in last year’s trial, appears to be an outlier.
Sources: New York Times, Reuters, and Washington Post; Photo: ironmountaindailynews.com