Several Republican senators on Sunday framed former President Trump’s second impeachment trial as an unconstitutional partisan attack from Democrats two days before the trial is scheduled to begin.
In a letter to the former president last week, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), the lead House impeachment manager, gave Trump a chance to “provide testimony under oath” after disputing “many factual allegations set forth in the article of impeachment” against the former president for “incitement of insurrection.”
Trump’s attorneys Bruce Castor and David Schoen dismissed the House impeachment managers’ request in a three-paragraph letter sent to Raskin hours later by slamming the request as a “public relations stunt,” before deploying Republicans’ disputed legal argument of an impeachment trial against Trump as an unconstitutional move now that the former president is out of office.
Republican senators on Sunday parroted Trump’s dismissal of the former president’s second impeachment trial by painting it as a means for Democrats to violate the Constitution in order to keep Trump as a punching bag:
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Trump loyalist Graham, who said that Trump “needs to understand that his actions were the problem” hours after the deadly insurrection at the Capitol last month despite his months-long crusade of egging on the former president’s bogus voter fraud claims, told CBS that he now doesn’t think Trump committed a crime.
“I mean, the House is impeaching him under the theory that his speech created a riot,” Graham said, before going on to conveniently ignore how he and other Trump loyalists espoused the former president’s false claims of Democrats trying to “steal” the election for months leading up to the Capitol riots. “When you look at the facts, many people had already planned to attack the Capitol before he ever spoke.”
Graham went on to slam impeachment as a “very bad idea” because a president has never been impeached outside of office. Graham also accused Democrats of deploying an “unconstitutional exercise.”
After noting how Chief Justice John Roberts isn’t presiding over the upcoming impeachment trial because Trump is no longer in office, Graham suggested that Democrats are willing to “flagrantly” violate the Constitution because in his view there is “no end” to their attacks against Trump.
“The Constitution, I think, is being flagrantly violated because, when it comes to Trump, there seems to be no end to all of this,” Graham said. “So, the trial is going to result in an acquittal.”
Graham later added that he is “ready to move on” because the impeachment trial is “blatantly unconstitutional.” When asked whether Trump is “the best face” for the GOP, the Trump loyalist unsurprisingly said that he agrees with that assessment.
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) February 7, 2021
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
Paul, who also spent months pushing Trump’s unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud, characterized the Senate impeachment trial of Trump as a “partisan farce” in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”
Paul also threw Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) under the bus by quipping that Schumer might as well face impeachment too.
“If we’re going to criminalize speech, and somehow impeach everybody who says, ‘Go fight to hear your voices heard,’ I mean really we ought to impeach Chuck Schumer then,” Paul said, before referring to Schumer’s remarks that took aim at Supreme Court Justices John Roberts and Neil Gorsuch after the high court heard arguments in a major abortion case last year.
“He went to the Supreme Court, stood in front of the Supreme Court and said specifically, ‘Hey Gorsuch, Hey Kavanaugh, you’ve unleashed a whirlwind. And you’re going to pay the price,'” Paul said. “This inflammatory wording, this violent rhetoric of Chuck Schumer was so bad that the chief justice, who rarely says anything publicly, immediately said this kind of language is dangerous as a mob tried to invade the Supreme Court.”
Paul also complained about the upcoming impeachment trial as potentially setting a precedent to “prosecute people for political speech.”
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
After insisting on “Meet the Press” that he will consider the evidence as an “impartial juror” during the impeachment trial, Cassidy accused House Democrats of doing an “incredibly poor job of building a case before their impeachment vote.”
“(Trump) wasn’t there. He wasn’t allowed counsel. They didn’t amass evidence. In five hours, they kind of judged and boom, he’s impeached,” Cassidy said. “Now, I’m told that under the Watergate, under the Clinton impeachments, there were truckloads of information. Here, there was a video. There was no process.”
Cassidy then compared Trump’s second impeachment trial to a “show trial” in the Soviet Union.
“I mean, it’s almost like, you know, if it happened in the Soviet Union, you would’ve called it a show trial,” Cassidy said. “I’m sorry that that’s the way the process went down because process is important when it comes to justice. And there was no defensible process there. But hopefully, they’ll build a case and bring it to us.”
Cassidy: “The House did an incredibly poor job of building a case before their impeachment vote.” pic.twitter.com/wS36YRm3jr
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) February 7, 2021
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS)
After characterizing the Senate impeachment trial as a “meaningless messaging partisan exercise,” Wicker repeatedly deflected during an interview on ABC News on whether Trump should be held accountable for inciting the mob that stormed the Capitol last month, as the House impeachment managers’ brief argues.
Wicker brought up that he called on then-President-elect Joe Biden to stop the House impeachment vote as he nonsensically insinuated that the refusal of Biden to do so is proof that the President is all talk regarding his calls for unity.
“I’ll tell you, if President-elect Joe Biden had asked Democrats in the House to forego this route, they would have done so,” Wicker said. “And I can’t think of a more unifying act that he could have done.”
“The question is should he be convicted in an impeachment trial and the answer is no,” Sen. Roger Wicker tells @gstephanopoulos when asked if Trump should be held accountable.
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) February 7, 2021