Republicans lambasted Democrats on Sunday for going by way of with the Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump — calling it unconstitutional and a “partisan farce” and saying there’s “zero likelihood” Trump will probably be convicted.
Sen. Rand Paul was requested on “Fox Information Sunday” concerning the chance of Trump being convicted within the Senate trial over his function within the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, which is ready to kick off on Tuesday.
“Zero likelihood of conviction,” mentioned the Kentucky Republican of the trial that begins Tuesday. “Forty-five Republicans have mentioned it’s not even a reputable continuing so it’s actually over earlier than it begins.”
He was referring to the 45 Republican senators — together with Minority Chief Sen. Mitch McConnell — who voted in assist of his movement final month to dismiss the impeachment trial on grounds it’s unconstitutional as a result of Trump is not in workplace.
As a result of Democrats maintain a slight majority within the 50-50 cut up Senate by advantage of Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote, they would wish 17 Republicans to cross the aisle and vote to convict Trump.
Paul additionally famous that Trump was inside his First Modification rights when he addressed a crowd of supporters earlier than the assault on the Capitol that led to the deaths of 5 folks, together with a Capitol Police officer.
“Persons are going to have to evaluate for themselves … are we going to doubtlessly prosecute folks for political speech?” Paul questioned.
He mentioned if that turns into the case and speech is criminalized, then Democrats, together with Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer, might be impeached over their fiery rhetoric in opposition to Trump, his allies, as nicely as the lawmakers who stirred up protesters final summer season.
“If we’re going to criminalize speech, and one way or the other impeach everyone who says, ‘Go battle to listen to your voices heard,’ I imply actually we should impeach Chuck Schumer then,” Paul mentioned on Fox Information. “He went to the Supreme Court docket, stood in entrance of the Supreme Court docket and mentioned particularly, ‘Hey, Gorsuch, Hey, Kavanaugh, you’ve unleashed a whirlwind. And also you’re going to pay the value.’”
Bruce Castor, considered one of Trump’s impeachment legal professionals, mentioned he plans on displaying how Democrats referred to as for protesters to behave throughout final summer season’s Black Lives Matter unrest throughout the nation following George Floyd’s demise by the hands of Minneapolis law enforcement officials.
“If my eyes look somewhat pink to the viewers, it’s as a result of I’ve been taking a look at a number of movies,” he advised Fox Information’ Laura Ingraham on Friday night.
“There’s a number of tape of cities burning and courthouses being attacked and federal brokers being assaulted by rioters within the streets, cheered on by Democrats all through the nation,” Castor mentioned.
The Home impeached Trump on Jan. 13 on a single cost of “incitement of an rebel” for the assault on the Capitol — with 10 Republicans voting alongside Democrats.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, considered one of Trump’s most vocal backers in Congress, mentioned historical past will decide the previous president’s motion within the Capitol siege — however the Senate shouldn’t.
“Nicely, I imply, he’s going to have a spot in historical past for all of this, however the level of the matter is that we’re in Congress, we’re not prosecutors. Impeachment was by no means meant to be a prosecution,” Graham mentioned on CBS Information’ “Face the Nation.”
“I believe I’m prepared to maneuver on, I’m prepared to finish the impeachment trial as a result of I believe it’s blatantly unconstitutional,” Graham added.
“As to Donald Trump, he’s the preferred determine within the Republican Celebration. He had a consequential presidency. Jan. 6 was a really dangerous day for America, and he’ll get his share of blame in historical past,” the South Carolina Republican mentioned.
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) referred to as the impeachment trial a “partisan train” and instructed that there is perhaps one other option to punish the previous president.
“If being held accountable means being impeached by the Home and being convicted by the Senate, the reply to that’s no,” Wicker mentioned on ABC Information’ “This Week.” “Now if there are different methods within the court docket of public opinion or if there’s some prison cost … dawns on some prosecutor, maybe, there’s one other avenue there.”
Host George Stephanopoulos requested Wicker if he sees a distinction in impeaching former President Invoice Clinton for mendacity a few sexual affair with a White Home aide.
“I’m not conceding that President Trump incited an rebel,” Wicker responded.
“Let me say this. Republicans discovered lots from the impeachment of President Clinton. President Clinton had been adjudged to have dedicated perjury by a decide within the state of Arkansas. Perjury is a felony underneath the regulation of each state. And that was the controlling precept that introduced me to a sure vote,” he mentioned.