WASHINGTON (AP) – Donald Trump’s defenders rallied in the Senate on Sunday before his impeachment trial against the former president., Dismissing it as a waste of time and arguing that the former president’s fiery speech before the US Capitol Rebellion does not make him responsible for the January 6 violence.
“If being accountable means impeachment by the House and being convicted by the Senate, then the answer is no,” said Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Trump must believe and he will be acquitted. Asked whether Congress could consider other punishments, such as the censor, Wicker said the Democratic-led House had that option first, but rejected it in favor of impeachment.
“That ship has sailed,” he said.
The Senate is set to begin impeachment trials on Tuesday to fight with protesters at Trump’s Capitol rally on charges for weeks of lying. A mob about a stolen and rigged presidential election incited the storm to the Capitol. The scuffle resulted in the death of five people, including a police officer.
Several senators, including Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, immediately condemned the violence and accused Trump. After the riots, Wicker said that Americans “would not stand for such an attack on the rule of law” and said, without naming, “we should prosecute them” that undermine democracy.
But now that Trump has left the presidency, Republicans have shown little political appetite to take further action, Such as the offense of impeachment which may prevent him from running for future office. Those partisan divisions appear to be hardening ahead of Trump’s trial, indicating his continued hold on the GOP.
On Sunday, Wicker described Trump’s impeachment trial as a “meaningless message biased practice.” Asked whether Trump’s conduct should be more worthy of impeachment than that of President Bill Clinton, whom Victor voted to impeach, he said: “I am not assuming that President Trump called a revolt Has provoked. ” In 1998, Clinton’s impeachment was provoked by her false denial in a statement regarding sexual relations with a White House intern.
Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky dismissed Trump’s lawsuit as a “zero opportunity for faith”, describing Trump’s words to protesters as “a fight like hell” that Congressman Joe Biden’s presidential victory Was voting to authenticate as “figurative” speech.
Paul said, “If we’re going to criminalize speech, and somehow attack everyone who fights to hear your voice, I mean we really should attack Chuck Schumer.” And his criticism of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. “He went to the Supreme Court, stood before the Supreme Court and specifically said, ‘O Gorsukh, O Kavanugh, you have made a detour. And you are going to pay the price.'”
Paul said that Chief Justice John Roberts refused to preside over the impeachment proceedings this week because Trump was no longer president. Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont will preside over the trial as Senate President Pro Tempore.
“It’s a difference, it’s unconstitutional. But nothing it is mindless, and is going to divide the country, ”said Paul.
Last month, Paul forced a vote to consider the test unconstitutional because Trump is no longer in office, which legal experts say is disputed. But the vote suggested an almost impossibility in arriving at a conviction in the Senate where Democrats hold 50 seats but two-thirds of the vote – or 67 senators – would need to convict Trump. Forty Republicans sided with Senator Paul And all voted to oppose impeachment trials. Five Republican senators joined with Democrats to reject Paul’s proposal: Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Pat Tomi of Pennsylvania.
While some Republicans have said the vote does not “force” them into voting in a particular way on confidence, Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana on Sunday said he would listen to the evidence carefully. But even on Sunday, Trump’s sharp GOP critics widely accepted the expected outcome.
“You suggest 45 Republican senators that they did not think it was appropriate to conduct a trial, so you can speculate that it is likely that those convicted are guilty,” Toomey, who clarified That he believes Trump committed “inefficient crime”.
“I still think the best result would be to resign from the post of president,” he said. “Apparently he decided not to do it.”
One of Trump’s staunch defenders, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said he believed Trump’s actions were wrong and “he’s going to make a place in history for all of this,” but insisted that This is not a Senate job for a judge.
“It’s not a question of how the trial ends, it’s a question of when it ends,” Graham said. “Republicans are going to see this as an unconstitutional practice, and the only question is whether they will call witnesses, how long does the trial take? But the result is not really in doubt.”
Wicker spoke on ABC’s “This Week”, Paul was on “Fox News Sunday”, Tomei appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” and Graham was on CBS’s “Face the Nation”.
Associated Press writer Marie Claire Jalonic contributed to this report.