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Officials brace for second Trump impeachment trial

Democratic senators on Sunday outlined how the chamber plans to address President Trump’s second impeachment trial, while Republican House members criticized the president in the wake of the deadly Capitol riot.

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (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 Tapper. “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 Booker (D-N.J.), appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” addressed his colleague Sen. Tom Cotton’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 Todd. “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 Rove, meanwhile, suggested that if the president’s defense is led by his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, 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 Stephanopoulos. “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.”

Tags Chuck Todd Cory Booker Dick Durbin Donald Trump George Stephanopoulos Jake Tapper Karl Rove Rudy Giuliani Tom Cotton
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