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Major Conservative Attorney Claims Trump Impeachment Trial Is Constitutional

Conservative attorney Chuck Cooper, most recently known for being the lawyer for former national security adviser John Bolton, has gone public with his argument that the Senate impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump is solidly grounded in the Constitution and should proceed as planned. 

“The strongest argument against the Senate’s authority to try a former officer relies on Article 1, Section 4 of the Constitution,” Cooper wrote in The Wall Street Journal this week. This section in the Constitution basically states that any individual holding political power who breaks the law will be removed and held accountable. 

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.”

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“The trial’s opponents argue that because this provision requires removal, and because only incumbent officers can be removed, it follows that only incumbent officers can be impeached and tried. But the provision cuts against their interpretation. It simply establishes what is known in criminal law as a ‘mandatory minimum’ punishment: If an incumbent officeholder is convicted by a two-thirds vote of the Senate, he is removed from office as a matter of law,” Cooper explained. 

After Trump was historically impeached for the second time by the House, Senator Rand Paul introduced a measure to dismiss the Senate trial, claiming the proceedings to be unconstitutional since Trump has already left office. Five Senate Republicans joined Democrats in voting against Paul’s measure, which never passed. 

“Given that the Constitution permits the Senate to impose the penalty of permanent disqualification only on former officeholders, it defies logic to suggest that the Senate is prohibited from trying and convicting former officeholders. The senators who supported Mr. Paul’s motion should reconsider their view and judge the former president’s misconduct on the merits.” 

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Trump was impeached for the second time on one article of inciting insurrection against the government after a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol building on January 6th. The mob began to storm the federal building after Trump held a rally telling his supporters to march on Congress and contest the election results. This also came after two months of Trump making baseless claims of a fraudulent election, and vilifying the sanctity of the democracy that shapes America. 

“Like the first, it is too narrowly drawn (first Ukraine, now the Capitol desecration) and was rushed through the House on largely partisan lines. Neither scenario is the right way to do impeachments, 50 percent of which in U.S. history have occurred in the past twelve months,” said John Bolton after Cooper made his remarks. 

Several individuals were injured at the riot, and five died, including one Capitol police officer. Trump’s Senate impeachment trial is projected to begin this week.

Impeachment

Nancy Pelosi Delays Sending Articles Of Impeachment To Senate Following House Vote

Donald Trump has officially become the third President of the United States to be impeached following the House vote approving the articles of impeachment this past Wednesday (December 18th). While this doesn’t necessarily mean that Trump will be fully removed from office, it still is being recognized as a historic day. 

Now, the vote is up to the Republican-controlled Senate on whether or not Trump will remain in office for the rest of his term. However, they are facing some delays after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced yesterday that she would not commit to sending the articles of impeachment against the president to the Senate. 

“That would have been our intention, but we’ll see what happens over there,” Pelosi said at a post-impeachment news conference when asked about the articles.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

The withholding comes as a response to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s rejection of Senate Leader Chuck Schumer’s request to allow four witnesses who work, or formerly worked,  as Trump’s officials to testify as witnesses at the Senate’s impeachment trial. Two of the witnesses include Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton and the acting White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney. Both of these witnesses were working closely with Trump around the time of the phone call to the Ukrainian President, making their role in the trial relevant. 

Pelosi is holding the articles until McConnell agrees to Schumer’s initial request. This withholding also means that it’s unclear as to the timeline of when the Senate’s trial will take place. However, both the Democrats and Republicans seem to be rather relaxed about it. Republicans and McConnell have argued that they’re in “no hurry” regarding receiving the articles and that there’s no advantage in delaying a trial the Senate doesn’t really want anything to do with anyway. Democrats are also taking their time in regards to how to go about the situation, and will be meeting Thursday morning (December 19th) to further discuss the matter. 

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U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

The main goal regarding the withholding is to ensure that the Republicans will be offering a fair and thorough trial, and with a Republican-controlled Senate, it’s unclear as to what type of reassurance that would be. James Clyburn, South Carolina Democrat House member, stated that they will be holding the articles “as long as it takes, even if [McConnell] doesn’t come around to committing a fair trial, [we’ll] keep those articles here.” 

McConnell is expected to address the press about the impeachment and the future of the trial Thursday morning as well, and it’s likely that he will discuss the withholding of the letters as a sign that the Democrats are “too afraid to even submit their shoddy work product to the Senate.” He is also expected to announce the date of the Senate trial by the end of the week. However, with Pelosi’s last-minute decision to hold the articles, it’s unlikely that he will make that announcement during his Thursday morning speech. 

Additionally, Pelosi threw another wrench into the trial’s plans by delaying the naming of impeachment managers for the Senate’s trial; the House is likely to make that decision within the next few days as well. 

We cannot name managers until we see what the process is on the Senate side, and we hope that will be soon. So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us, so hopefully it will be fair,”  Pelosi said