Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) favors convicting former President Trump but confessed on Monday that the Senate trial might indeed be unconstitutional — as many Republicans had already pointed out.
Murphy told Fox News Sunday that Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) point that the impeachment trial is unconstitutional was reasonable, saying, “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.”
The Constitution provides for the impeachment of a sitting president, who, if convicted, can then be removed from office. The Democrats are trying to remove a former president from an office he no longer occupies.
Article 2, section 4 of the Constitution reads:
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Likening the impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives to a Soviet-style “show trial,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) told NBC’s Meet the Press, “Let’s face it, the House did an incredibly poor job of building a case before the impeachment vote. 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.”
Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) told CBS’s Face the Nation that the outcome was not really in doubt and pointed to the 45 Republicans that went on record to oppose the impeachment.
Graham said, “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.”
Sen. Rand Paul said that there is “zero” chance that the Senate will convict former President Trump.
The impeachment trial is set to begin on Tuesday, February 9, 2021, at 1 pm E.T. Few details have been revealed, but according to Fox News, there will be some debate on the constitutionality of the trial: “The trial would start with four hours of debate on whether the trial is constitutional, then a vote on whether to proceed. There also could be debate and a vote on if impeachment managers can call witnesses, which would be subject to a simple majority threshold.”