(PresidentialInsider)_ House Democrats delivered the single article of impeachment against former President Donald Trump over to the Senate Monday night.
That move signaled the start of the impeachment trial, which has already been delayed by two weeks to let the Senate conduct other business. But, as the trial looms in the near future, there are plenty of Republican Senators who are against the impeachment trial altogether.
On Monday, the Epoch Times published a report that said 29 senators in the GOP have spoken out against the impeachment trial. They argue that it’s either a complete waste of time or unconstitutional, since Trump no longer holds office.
On Sunday, South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” show:
“I think right now, Donald Trump is no longer the president; he is a former president.”
Rounds insisted that the Constitution doesn’t say “that you can impeach someone who is not in office.”
Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton said the Senate doesn’t have the authority to convict the former president since he’s no longer in office. Cotton told PBS NewsHour:
“The more I talk to other Republican senators, the more they’re beginning to line up” behind that particular argument. He added:
“I think a lot of Americans are going to think it’s strange that the Senate is spending its time trying to convict and remove from office a man who left office a week ago.”
Florida Senator Marco Rubio had stronger words, telling Fox News:
“Well, first of all, I think the trial is stupid; it’s counterproductive. We already have a flaming fire in this country, and it’s like taking a bunch of gasoline and pouring it on top of the fire. The first chance I get to vote to end this trial, I’ll do it.”
Democrats, though, continue to argue that the Constitution doesn’t prohibit the Senate from holding the impeachment trial. Many legal scholars have made this argument as well.
It seems that the only Republican Senator thus far who has publicly spoken in favor of the impeachment is Utah’s Mitt Romney. Romney, if you remember, was the only Republican to vote to convict Trump the first time the former president was impeached.
Now, Romney said:
“I believe that what is being alleged and what we saw, which is incitement to insurrection, is an impeachable offense. If not, what is?”
He also said there’s a “preponderance of opinion” that impeachment trials can be held even after those being impeached are no longer in office.
The impeachment trial is going to move forward whether the 29 Republican Senators like it or not, unfortunately. Even so, it’s unlikely that the former president is going to be convicted.
Two-thirds of the Senate would need to vote in favor of convicting Trump — or 67 total members.
If 29 Republicans who oppose the trial vote against convicting Trump, that would mean that Democrats would need 17 of the remaining 21 Republicans to be in favor of convicting Trump. That seems like a mighty tall order.