Sunday, July 21, 2024

Cassidy Joins RINOs to Help Greenlight Impeachment; Trump’s Lawyers Face Harsh Feedback

"The political pendulum will shift one day—this chamber and the chamber across the way will change one day, and partisan impeachments will become commonplace..."

(Headline USA) Senators voted to approve House Democrats’ impeachment do-over against former president Donald Trump, casting off discursive arguments by Trump’s defense team to halt the trial because he is no longer in office.

Six Republicans joined the Senate’s 50 Democrats in the 56-44 on Tuesday to determine whether the Senate has jurisdiction and could proceed with the highly partisan trial over whether the former president incited the Jan. 6 US Capitol uprising.

The impeachment managers picked up one additional vote from Republicans—Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy. Two weeks ago, he voted in favor of an effort to dismiss, but on Tuesday he voted with Democrats to move forward.

“I have always said I was approaching this with an open mind,” Cassidy said.

He told reporters earlier that the impeachment managers’ arguments were “strong arguments” and it was a “very good opening.”

Cassidy joined Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Mitt Romney of Utah in dismissing the Trump team’s claims.

All five of the NeverTrump RINOs had previously supported the trial following the earlier vote forced by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

Tuesday’s vote came after four hours of arguments from Trump’s lawyers and the Democratic impeachment managers.

While the House Democrat impeachment managers pointed to a handful of historical examples of a post-term impeachment, the conventional wisdom since the 20th century had been that impeachment applied only to public servants who were in office at the time.

Several figures—including former president Richard Nixon—had argued previously that an 1876 precedent supported the idea that resignation was, itself, a remedy for impeachment.

But Democrats on their crusade to prevent Trump from running again in 2024 instead opened the possibility that presidents could be impeached after the fact for actions committed while in office.

Trump’s lawyers said the push to impeach was politically motivated.

“You will never hear anybody representing former President Trump say anything at all other than, what happened on Jan. 6 in the storming and the breaching of the Capitol should be denounced in the most vigorous terms,” said the former president’s lawyer, Bruce Castor, according to the Epoch Times.

Castor warned that, if successful, it could have a chilling effect and far-reaching ramifications for future political score-settling.

“We are really here because the majority in the House of Representatives does not want to face Donald Trump as a political rival in the future, that’s the real reason we’re here,” he said.

“The political pendulum will shift one day—this chamber and the chamber across the way will change one day and partisan impeachments will become commonplace,” he added.

Despite the alarming damage that the effort may reap in terms of its legal and constitutional implications, though, it remains unlikely that Democrats will be able to sway 11 more GOP senators to get the two-thirds majority needed to convict.

Nonetheless, there was concern that Trump’s lawyers—whom he hired on short notice after his earlier legal team bailed out two weeks ago—seemed unprepared for the task at hand.

Collins said she was “perplexed” by lead Trump lawyer Bruce Castor, “who did not seem to make any arguments at all, which was an unusual approach to take.”

Even Trump’s staunches allies and supporters were not particularly moved by the presentation.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said he didn’t think the lawyers did “the most effective job,” while praising Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, the Democrats’ lead prosecutor, as “impressive.”

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said Castor “just rambled on and on and on.”

Asked for a response to the GOP criticism, Castor said, “We had a good day.”

Another Trump lawyer, David Schoen, told reporters that “I always hope to improve.”

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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