Rand Paul: Tuesday’s Vote Shows Impeachment Trial “Is All Over”
On Tuesday, Sen. Rand Paul called for the U.S. Senate to hold a procedural vote on whether or not to even officially address the impeachment charges sent over by the House of Representatives. Paul’s argument is that it is not constitutional to hold an impeachment trial of a president who is no longer sitting in the Oval Office – a stance buttressed by the fact that Chief Justice John Roberts has already said he will not preside over the trial. In total, 45 Republican senators voted against holding the trial, proving, in Paul’s mind, that there is no point in moving forward.
“If you voted that it was unconstitutional, how in the world would you ever vote to convict somebody for this?” Paul said in remarks to the press. “This vote indicates it’s over. The trial is all over.”
That night, Paul appeared with Maria Bartiromo on Fox News to call Democrats out on their double standards.
“One of Bernie Sanders’ supporters came to the ballfield, nearly killed Steve Scalise, but nobody talked about impeaching Bernie Sanders,” Paul said. “Maxine Waters has said, ‘Get up in their face’ — so has Cory Booker — ‘Become a mob, we want you to mob them at restaurants and cause mayhem.’ That sounds like an incitement to violence but nobody’s talking about impeaching Maxine Waters, nobody’s talking about impeaching Bernie Sanders or Cory Booker for saying ‘Get up in their face.’ So it’s a significant hypocrisy and double standard that they’re putting forward and they should be called out on it. Nobody should be shy about calling them out on their hypocrisy.”
Of course, a 55-45 vote tally means that five Republicans actually did vote to move forward with the impeachment trial. We’re sure you’ll be shocked by the names: Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Ben Sasse, Pat Toomey, and good ol’ Mitt Romney.
In a floor speech ahead of the vote, Sen. Paul warned that Roberts’ absence alone made the procedure unconstitutional.
“Impeachment is for removal from office and the accused here has already left office,” Paul said. “Hyper-partisan Democrats are about to drag our great country into the gutter of rancor and vitriol the likes of which has never been seen in our nation’s history.”
We assume that, barring a Supreme Court case, the debate over whether an impeachment trial of a former president is constitutional will be resolved in another era. As for this particular trial, Paul hit the nail on the head: If this many Republicans think the whole trial is a sham, there’s virtually no chance that they vote to convict Trump on the House charges. So we have a situation that is, at best, a total waste of time and money.
But hey, if Democrats want to make sure Trump supporters remain highly energized for 2022 and beyond, keep it up!