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.”
“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.”
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.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.