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Officials brace for second Trump impeachment trial

Officials brace for second Trump impeachment trial
© Greg Nash

Democratic senators on Sunday outlined how the chamber plans to address President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot Intelligence community investigating links between lawmakers, Capitol rioters Michelle Obama slams 'partisan actions' to 'curtail access to ballot box' MORE’s second impeachment trial, while Republican House members criticized the president in the wake of the deadly Capitol riot.

Senate Minority Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinWhat's worse, violence on the left or the right? It's a dangerous question Garland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks National Sheriffs' Association backs Biden pick for key DOJ role MORE (D-Ill.) said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he would not whip votes in his caucus during the trial, saying he thought it was too important of an act to apply pressure to members to convict.

“When it comes to an issue of this gravity and constitutional importance, members really have to follow their own conscience," Durbin told CNN's Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperEx-Trump press secretary criticized for stirring up QAnon on Twitter Maryland GOP governor says he would have voted to convict Trump Democratic senator defends decision not to call witnesses: 'They weren't going to get more Republican votes' MORE. "It isn't a matter of saying, 'well, the team has to all vote together.'"

“[I]n terms of arm-twisting, when it comes to impeachment, you just don't do that," he added.

The Senate is set to hold Trump’s impeachment trial at a time to officially be determined. The move is unprecedented, both as the first time a president has been impeached twice and the first time a trial has occurred after a president leaves office. While any potential conviction would occur after Trump is no longer president, it would also prevent the president from seeking office again.

Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerABC names new deputy political director, weekend White House correspondent NJ lawmakers ask Gannett to stop 'union-busting' efforts at 3 state newspapers Hillicon Valley: High alert as new QAnon date approaches Thursday | Biden signals another reversal from Trump with national security guidance | Parler files a new case MORE (D-N.J.), appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” addressed his colleague Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonRepublicans blast Pentagon policy nominee over tweets, Iran nuclear deal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Lawmakers face Capitol threat as senators line up votes for relief bill Garland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks MORE’s (R-Ark.) argument that a post-presidency conviction would be unconstitutional.

“We just had a president of the United States try to undermine the peaceful transition of power. Try to challenge a fair and free election, and him and his agents, in the moments before from his son to his lawyer, whipping up a crowd to go attack the Capitol,” Booker told NBC’s Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddBrown vows Democrats will 'find a way' to raise minimum wage Fauci lays out timeline for vaccinating teens, children Trudeau: Canadian, US border to remain closed 'for now' MORE. “So, I believe fundamentally the Senate has an obligation to act.”

“You need the Republican leader to cooperate in terms of time agreements. But I fully expect it to happen as quickly as possible. And I think what else is going to happen is that we're going to be able to do a lot of things at once. I think we should,” added Booker. “If we can get the time agreements from our Republican leader, we can actually hold impeachment trials as well as do other urgently critical things like getting key national security personnel confirmed as well.”

GOP consultant Karl RoveKarl Christian RoveThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Lawmakers face Capitol threat as senators line up votes for relief bill The Memo: Is Trump mounting a comeback — or finally fading? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Ahead: One-shot vax, easing restrictions, fiscal help MORE, meanwhile, suggested that if the president’s defense is led by his personal attorney, Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Lawmakers face Capitol threat as senators line up votes for relief bill Giuliani again suspended from YouTube over false election claims Sacha Baron Cohen calls out 'danger of lies, hate and conspiracies' in Golden Globes speech MORE, the Senate would be more likely to vote to convict.

“I think it’s all going to boil down to what the president’s defense is,” Rove said on “Fox News Sunday,” adding “Rudy Giuliani charted a very bad course in the morning papers.”

Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.), one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump last week, acknowledged that he “very may well have” ended his own political career with the decision.

“But I think it's also important that we have elected leaders who are not thinking solely about what's in their individual self-interest, not what is going to be politically expedient, but what we actually need for the country,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“[T]he president brought some necessary energy. He brought some necessary ideas. He shook the tree. He was a change agent,” Meijer told ABC’s George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosKhashoggi colleague: 'Why are we making an alliance with a dictator?' Fauci on Johnson & Johnson vaccine: 'Just be really grateful' Portman on Trump's dominance of GOP: Republican Party's policies are 'even more popular' MORE. “The challenge was that he didn't know when to stop, and he didn't draw a line, and to me, political violence is the line that we must draw.”

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), meanwhile, said she believed the president had endangered the lives of members of Congress and that, while she did not vote to impeach him, she believed censure would have been appropriate.

“We feared for our lives, many of us that day and our staff. And, as you know, my children were supposed to be up there,” she said on “Meet the Press.” “And if they had been there like they were supposed to be, I would have been devastated. And so we do need to find a way to hold the president accountable.”