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Politics Cotton: Senate lacks authority to hold impeachment trial once Trump leaves office

07:05  14 january  2021
07:05  14 january  2021 Source:   thehill.com

Impeachment, resignation, 25th Amendment: How Democrats in Congress are trying to remove Trump after Capitol riots

  Impeachment, resignation, 25th Amendment: How Democrats in Congress are trying to remove Trump after Capitol riots Democrats in Congress have urged Trump to resign and for the Cabinet to remove him using the 25th Amendment. Now they're preparing for impeachment.They've called for his resignation, urged the Cabinet to remove him under the 25th Amendment and, with those two options looking extremely unlikely, are preparing to impeach the president for a second time.

Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), an influential conservative and possible contender for the White House in 2020, says the Senate lacks constitutional authority to hold an impeachment trial for President Trump once he leaves office .

Once Trump leaves office , the Senate can’t hold an impeachment trial . The Constitution itself answers this question clearly: No, he cannot be. Once Trump ’s term ends on Jan. 20, Congress loses its constitutional authority to continue impeachment proceedings against him — even if the House

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), an influential conservative and possible contender for the White House in 2024, says the Senate lacks constitutional authority to hold an impeachment trial for President Trump once he leaves office.

Tom Cotton wearing a suit and tie: Cotton: Senate lacks authority to hold impeachment trial once Trump leaves office © New York Times/Pool Cotton: Senate lacks authority to hold impeachment trial once Trump leaves office

"The Senate lacks constitutional authority to conduct impeachment proceedings against a former president. The Founders designed the impeachment process as a way to remove officeholders from public office - not an inquest against private citizens," Cotton said in a statement Wednesday evening.

Impeachment Fast Facts

  Impeachment Fast Facts Read Fast Facts on CNN to learn more about impeachments of US and world leaders.Here's a look at the process of impeachment, a misconduct charge that leads to a trial to determine whether a public official is guilty of abuse of power or other offenses. A conviction leads to removal from office.

President Trump could face some unpleasant consequences from an impeachment trial if he is convicted, but the proceedings may never begin. But it also raises questions about whether a trial can even be held once the president leaves office . The earliest the Senate could receive the article

Donald Trump , the 45th president of the United States, was impeached for the second time by the House of Representatives on January 13, 2021.

Cotton's rationale for not voting to convict Trump once he leaves office will likely become political cover for other GOP senators to vote against a House-passed article of impeachment, even if they think Trump might have committed impeachable offenses.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced earlier Wednesday that Trump's second impeachment trial will not begin until after the Senate returns from a recess scheduled to end on Jan. 19. That means the soonest the trial could begin would be 1 p.m. Jan. 20, the same day President-elect Joe Biden is sworn-in.

"Given the rules, procedures, and Senate precedents that govern presidential impeachment trials, there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial could conclude before President-elect Biden is sworn in next week. The Senate has held three presidential impeachment trials. They have lasted 83 days, 37 days, and 21 days respectively," McConnell said.

GOP senators' impeachment process arguments throw cold water on chances of Senate conviction

  GOP senators' impeachment process arguments throw cold water on chances of Senate conviction Senate Republicans are finding a loophole to navigate the political dynamics of President Trump's impeachment: Raise objections about the process. © Provided by Washington Examiner It's one way to approach impeachment and possible conviction of a former president without saying that Trump did nothing wrong in regards to his speech and conduct before last week's siege on the U.S. Capitol. By using objections to process as a basis for voting against impeachment or conviction, Republicans are finding a political middle ground.

With President Trump likely set on Wednesday to become the only president ever impeached twice After the Senate is back – and it has received the impeachment article – the Senate is required to begin an impeachment trial forthwith. 20 — one house after President Trump leaves office .

Senate Republican leadership was previously considering reconvening on an emergency basis on Friday to hold the impeachment trial before Trump left office . Thus, the trial will take place with a Senate tied 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, and will be presided over by Chief Justice

Cotton in his statement Wednesday evening also argued that the Senate would not be able to conclude a trial of Trump in the next six days.


Video: Biden administration will likely 'work to find justice' for insurrection, says expert (CNBC)

"The House has passed an article of impeachment against the president, but the Senate under its rules and precedents cannot start and conclude a fair trial before the president leaves office next week," he said.

The House voted 232 to 197 Wednesday to impeach Trump a second time, with 10 Republican lawmakers voting in favor of the article, which charged Trump with inciting insurrection after a pro-Trump mob overtook the U.S. Capitol last week.

The article charges Trump with having "repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the presidential election results were the product of widespread fraud" and incited a crowd that "unlawfully breached and vandalized the Capitol, injured and killed law enforcement personnel" and "menaced members of Congress."

Cotton condemned the violence and said rioters should be fully prosecuted.

"'There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law.' Those words are as true today as when Abraham Lincoln spoke them. As I said last summer when mob violence gripped our streets, so I say again about the mob violence at our nation's Capitol last week: those persons responsible should be held accountable in the courts to the full extent of the law," he said.

But the Arkansas lawmaker said, "fidelity to the Constitution must always remain the lodestar of our nation."

"Last week, I opposed the effort to reject certified electoral votes for the same reason - fidelity to the Constitution - I now oppose impeachment proceedings against a former president," Cotton said.

Democrats torn on impeachment trial timing .
Senate Democrats are torn on the timing of an impeachment trial for President Trump, worried it could delay President-elect Joe Biden's agenda for a week or longer.Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) has proposed that the Senate could work on a dual track by processing Biden's Cabinet picks in the morning while holding a speedy impeachment trial for Trump in the afternoon, but Republicans don't seem interested in the idea and can easily block it. This puts Democrats in the tricky spot of deciding whether to prioritize a second impeachment trial for Trump, which wouldn't begin until after he leaves office.

usr: 0
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