The hearings for the second impeachment trial of former President Trump start on Tuesday and Republicans are making it clear, even before they’re gaveled in, that they believe the result is predetermined.
“It’s a partisan farce,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said of the impeachment effort on “Fox News Sunday.” Paul added that he does not believe it’s possible Trump will be convicted.
“Zero chance of conviction,” Paul said when asked if he thinks there’s a chance the Senate could meet the 67-vote threshold to convict Trump. “Forty-five Republicans have said it’s not even a legitimate proceeding so it’s really over before it starts. As far as witnesses, I think unlikely to be witnesses; if they do want witnesses, there’s going to be so much evidence that the president had nothing to do with this.”
Indeed, Paul last month raised a point of order in the Senate alleging that the impeachment trial is unconstitutional. This forced a vote and only five Republicans joined the Senate’s 50 Democrats in saying that the trial is constitutionally allowed to move forward. That means that 12 Republicans would have to change their minds on whether the trial is constitutional for Democrats to have even a chance of convicting Trump.
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. ‒ who is in favor of convicting Trump and made the case on “Fox News Sunday” that the Senate has a responsibility to hold a trial of the former president ‒ even allowed that Paul makes a reasonable point that the trial is unconstitutional.
“I admit this is of course a matter of first impression and so I don’t think the case that Senator Paul is making is a ridiculous one,” he said.
Other top Republicans also believe Trump is highly unlikely to be convicted, which if it does happen, could result in him being barred from holding office in the future.
“They know that this has no chance of winning. There’s no chance of the president actually being convicted here,” Trump 2020 senior adviser Jason Miller said on Fox News Sunday. “This is designed to try to implement political pain, so to speak, over the course of a week, maybe a week and a half, and then they’re going to move on. They’re not even taking this seriously.”
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., meanwhile, criticized the process of the impeachment in the House, saying it tainted proceedings in the Senate.
“Let’s face it, the House did an incredibly poor job of building a case before the impeachment vote,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “There was no process. I mean, it’s almost like, you know, if it happened in the Soviet Union, you would have called it a show trial.”
Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said on “Sunday Morning Futures” that the trial is “designed for nine House Democrats to do two things — to get political vengeance and have a viral moment.”
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., added on CNN that because 45 Republicans have already said the trial is unconstitutional, “you can infer how likely it is that those folks will vote to convict.”
As for Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. C., he said “the outcome is not really in doubt.”
“Impeachment is a political process. We’ve never impeached a president once they’re out of office. I think this is a really bad idea. Forty-five-plus Republicans are going to vote early on that it’s unconstitutional. It’s not a question of how the trial ends. It’s a question of when it ends,” Graham said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “The only question is will they call witnesses? How long does the trial take?”
Graham also said that he does not endorse the events of Jan. 6 and didn’t walk back his previous statements holding Trump partially responsible for the attack on the Capitol. But Graham said he does not believe Trump actually committed a crime, and that the trial itself should not be moving forward.
“It’s not a crime. The House is impeaching him under the grounds that his speech created a riot,” Graham said. “If you believe he committed a crime, he can be prosecuted like any other citizen. Impeachment is a political process. We’ve never impeached a president once they’re out of office.”
Trump’s trial stems from an impeachment vote in the House on Jan. 13, one week after a pro-Trump mob stormed the U. S. Capitol. Trump for months made false claims that he won the presidential election before gathering a massive crowd in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, the day Congress was set to certify the presidential election results. Trump said the rally would be “wild.”
During that speech, Trump doubled down on his false claims about the election and said, “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” Trump did tell his followers to march “peacefully and p… (Read more)
"I admit this is of course a matter of first impression and so I don't think the case that Senator Paul is making is a ridiculous one." – @ChrisMurphyCT responds to the argument that the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump is unconstitutional. #FoxNewsSunday— FoxNewsSunday (@FoxNewsSunday) February 7, 2021