The impeachment trial in opposition to Trump faces the problem of Republican Senator Paul
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee hearing on “Threats to the Homeland” on Capitol Hill in Washington
By David Morgan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The impeachment trial of Donald Trump in the Senate for inciting the deadly siege of the Capitol could be his first challenge on Tuesday. A Republican senator argues that a former president’s attempt would violate the U.S. Constitution.
Trump is the only President to be tried twice by the House of Representatives, and he is the first to be tried after leaving power with the option of being expelled from future public office if he is chosen by the 100 Senators of the Chamber is sentenced as jurors. The trial is expected to begin on February 9th.
Senator Rand Paul, an ally of Trump, has pledged to force a vote on whether the Constitution will allow the Senate to try the former president, who is now a private individual. Trump stepped down from office on January 20.
The House approved a single impeachment notice – equivalent to a criminal charge – on January 13, accusing him of inciting a riot with an incendiary speech in front of supporters before they stormed the Capitol on January 6. One policeman and four others died in close combat.
“I will force a vote on whether the Senate can hold a trial against a private individual,” wrote Paul on Twitter late Monday, expressing an objection that other Republicans had also raised.
Paul is expected to speak in the Senate around noon.
There is a debate among scholars about whether the Senate can hold a trial against Trump after he leaves office. Many experts have said that “late impeachment” is constitutional, arguing that presidents who commit misconduct late in their term of office should not be immune to the constitutional process to hold them accountable.
The constitution makes it clear that impeachment proceedings can result in the office no longer being exercised in the future. Therefore, the Senate has yet to resolve an active problem, according to these scientists.
At least 17 Republicans would have to join all 50 Democrats in the equally divided Senate for Trump to be convicted. This two-thirds threshold seems unlikely. Trump remains a powerful force among Republicans, and his supporters have vowed to raise electoral challenges to lawmakers in the party who support the belief.
Some Republicans criticized Trump’s false claims of electoral fraud and his failed efforts to overturn President Joe Biden’s November 3rd election victory. But no Senate Republicans have definitely said they want to vote to condemn him.
A vote on Paul’s appeal could take place on Tuesday afternoon, if the 100 Senators are expected to be sworn in for their roles as jurors. Paul’s office was not immediately available for comment.
Paul has also objected to plans to preside over Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy at the trial. U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts led Trump’s first impeachment trial, which was acquitted in February 2020 of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for telling Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son.
Paul quoted a language in the Constitution that said, “If the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice will preside.”
Although the constitution requires the chief judge to preside over impeachment proceedings against the president, a senator will preside if the accused is not the current president, a Senate source said. Leahy, 80, was first elected to the Chamber in 1974 and holds the title of Senate President pro Tempore.
The nine House Democrats who will serve as prosecutors kicked off the process on Monday by submitting the impeachment article to the Senate.
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