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

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHillicon Valley: Biden administration sanctions Russia for SolarWinds hack, election interference Senators reintroduce bill to block NATO withdrawal New US sanctions further chill Biden-Putin relations 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 PutinOvernight Defense: Administration says 'low to moderate confidence' Russia behind Afghanistan troop bounties | 'Low to medium risk' of Russia invading Ukraine in next few weeks | Intelligence leaders face sharp questions during House worldwide threats he Biden calls for dialogue with Russia amid raft of sanctions Top general: 'Low to medium risk' of Russia invading Ukraine in next few weeks 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 BoltonThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - US vaccine effort takes hit with Johnson & Johnson pause Bipartisan lawmakers signal support for Biden cybersecurity picks On North Korea, Biden should borrow from Trump's Singapore declaration 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 CollinsModerates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate confirms Mallory to lead White House environment council | US emissions dropped 1.7 percent in 2019 | Interior further delays Trump rule that would make drillers pay less to feds Anti-Asian hate crimes bill overcomes first Senate hurdle MORE (R-Maine) announced Thursday that she would vote to call additional witnesses, and Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyModerates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats Sinema, Romney propose bill to tackle student loan debt Romney, Sinema teaming up on proposal to raise minimum wage MORE (R-Utah) is expected to follow suit.

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiModerates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring Trump mocks Murkowski, Cheney election chances 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.