Senate

Schumer: Trump should not be eligible to run for office again

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Tuesday that President Trump should not be eligible to run for office again and vowed to try to bar him from doing so if the Senate convicts him.

“After what he has done, the consequences of which we were all witness to, Donald Trump should not be eligible to run for office ever again,” Schumer said from the Senate floor.

“Let me be clear: There will be an impeachment trial in the United States Senate. There will be a vote on convicting the president for high crimes and misdemeanors. If the president is convicted, there will be a vote on barring him from running again,” he added.

Schumer didn’t address when an impeachment trial would start or if Democrats would try to delay it in order to confirm Biden’s Cabinet nominees and pass more coronavirus legislation, a strategy some members of his caucus are urging him and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to support.

The earliest the Senate could start an impeachment trial, if the House submits the article of impeachment, is on Wednesday afternoon shortly after Biden is sworn in or on Thursday afternoon.

It will take a two-thirds vote in the Senate to convict Trump after the House voted earlier this month to impeach him for a historic second time for “willfully inciting violence against the Government of the United States.”

If the Senate convicts Trump, which would be a first in American history, Democrats could then hold a second, separate vote to block him from holding federal office in the future.

Schumer is expected to meet with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) later Tuesday to discuss how to organize the impeachment trial and divide up power in a 50-50 Senate. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will serve as the Democrats’ tie-breaking vote.

Schumer, in his floor speech, pointed to the impeachment trial, confirming Biden’s Cabinet picks and passing more coronavirus relief as the top three priorities for the Senate.

Schumer’s remarks underscore the balancing act awaiting President-elect Joe Biden and congressional Democrats as they try to get Biden’s agenda off the ground.

“The Senate must accomplish three essential items: a second impeachment trial of Donald Trump, the confirmation of Biden’s Cabinet and other key officials and legislation to provide much needed … COVID relief,” Schumer said on Tuesday.

If Democrats will be able to do both at the same time is unclear. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a close McConnell ally, told reporters on Tuesday that it would not be “possible” because Democrats will require consent from every senator.

Schumer on Tuesday urged Republicans to allow confirmation of some of Biden’s Cabinet picks on Wednesday, a procedure he would need the cooperation of every senator to tee up. Senate committees are holding hearings on Tuesday on five of Biden’s picks, but none have yet been voted out of committee and sent to the Senate floor.

“We need qualified people in key national security positions on day one. That means tomorrow. The Senate will be in session tomorrow after the conclusion of the inauguration of the 46th president of the United States. With cooperation, we can confirm key national security nominees at State, the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, Treasury and the Intelligence Community,” he said.

After the Senate confirms Biden’s picks, Schumer said he would then turn to coronavirus relief. Senate Democrats will likely be able to confirm the president-elect’s picks without GOP support because nominations only need a simple majority. 

“Once the Senate has confirmed key nominations for the incoming administration, it will turn to the subject of additional COVID relief,” Schumer said.

That package, according to Schumer, will include more money for direct payments, state and local aid and more funding for vaccine distributions.

Tags Biden inauguration Charles Schumer Chuck Schumer coronavirus relief Donald Trump Joe Biden John Cornyn Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Senate confirmation hearings Trump impeachment

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