Rubio: Impeachable actions don't necessarily mean a president should be removed

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioConfirmation hearing for Biden's DNI pick postponed McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time The Hill's Morning Report - Trump impeached again; now what? MORE (R-Fla.) argued Friday that impeachable actions don’t always mean a president should be convicted, saying lawmakers must also weigh the impact of removal from office.

"Just because actions meet a standard of impeachment does not mean it is in the best interest of the country to remove a President from office," Rubio wrote in a Medium post.

"Determining which outcome is in the best interests requires a political judgment — one that takes into account both the severity of the wrongdoing alleged but also the impact removal would have on the nation," he said.


Rubio also suggested that removing Trump from office would be a victory for Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump impeached again; now what? Overnight Defense: Trump impeached for second time | National Guard at Capitol now armed, swelling to 20K troops for inauguration | Alabama chosen for Space Command home Pelosi's risky blunder: Talking about Trump and nuclear war MORE.

"Can anyone doubt that at least half of the country would view his removal as illegitimate — as nothing short of a coup d’état? It is difficult to conceive of any scheme Putin could undertake that would undermine confidence in our democracy more than removal would," Rubio wrote.

Rubio explained why, like most GOP senators, he would not support calling for witnesses at Trump's impeachment trial, adding that he rejects “the argument that unless we call new witnesses this is not a fair trial."

“Nevertheless, new witnesses that would testify to the truth of the allegations are not needed for my threshold analysis, which already assumed that all the allegations made are true,” Rubio said.

Democrats argue that calling witnesses such as former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonAfter insurrection: The national security implications McConnell won't reprise role as chief Trump defender Cyber czar to draw on new powers from defense bill MORE could provide new evidence on top of the findings of the House impeachment inquiry.


Rubio was not expected to join Democrats in their push for new witnesses. 

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMcConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time McConnell says he's undecided on whether to vote to convict Trump 'I saw my life flash before my eyes': An oral history of the Capitol attack MORE (R-Maine) announced Thursday that she would vote to call additional witnesses, and Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyMcConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time Additional airlines ban guns on flights to DC ahead of inauguration Ben Shapiro stirs controversy by guest writing Politico newsletter MORE (R-Utah) is expected to follow suit.

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiMurkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office again McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time Murkowski blasts Trump's election claims, calls House impeachment appropriate MORE (R-Alaska) announced Friday she would vote against witnesses, giving Senate Republicans the 51 votes needed to bring the trial to a conclusion. Trump is expected to be acquitted, since 67 votes are needed to convict.

Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the chamber.