GOP senator: Impeachment a 'moot point' after Trump's exit

GOP senator: Impeachment a 'moot point' after Trump's exit
© Greg Nash

A Republican senator indicated Sunday that he didn't believe it was constitutional for the Senate to pursue a conviction of former President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse passes voting rights and elections reform bill DEA places agent seen outside Capitol during riot on leave Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee MORE on an article of impeachment charging him with inciting an insurrection.

Sen. Mike RoundsMike RoundsIndigenous groups post billboards urging senators to confirm Deb Haaland Powell pushes back on GOP inflation fears Overnight Health Care: US surpasses half a million COVID deaths | House panel advances Biden's .9T COVID-19 aid bill | Johnson & Johnson ready to provide doses for 20M Americans by end of March MORE (R-S.D.) told NBC's "Meet the Press" that he believed the Constitution only allowed for current presidents to be impeached by Congress, thereby rendering the discussion about whether Trump had committed an impeachable offense with his incitement of the violent mob that overtook the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 a "moot point."

"To begin with, I think it's a moot point," Rounds said. "Because, I think right now Donald Trump is no longer the president, he is a former president."

"Article 1...specifically point[s] out that you can impeach the president, and it does not indicate that you can impeach someone that is not in office. So I think it is a moot point, and it's one I think they would have a very difficult time in getting done in the Senate," he continued.

Rounds went on to say that the Senate should move on to other business, and pointed to the confirmation of President Biden's Cabinet nominees as one area where the GOP should move to work with Democrats.

His claims echoed those from other GOP senators such as Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonGarland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks National Sheriffs' Association backs Biden pick for key DOJ role The Memo: Is Trump mounting a comeback — or finally fading? MORE (Ark.) who have argued that impeachment of a former president is unconstitutional, an argument Democrats have disagreed with. 

“The Senate lacks constitutional authority to conduct impeachment proceedings against a former president,” Cotton said in a statement last week. “The Founders designed the impeachment process as a way to remove officeholders from public office — not an inquest against private citizens.”