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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Ted Cruz Says Senate CAN Impeach a Former President, But…

'The present impeachment is an exercise of partisan retribution, not a legitimate exercise of constitutional authority...'

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who criticized the opening performance by former president Donald Trump’s impeachment lawyers on Tuesday, explained his reason for objecting to the trial’s legitimacy despite what he and others characterized as compelling arguments by House Democrats’ impeachment managers.

In an op-ed for Fox News, Cruz conceded that—despite longstanding precedent in cases including the resignation of former president Richard Nixon—the Senate should have authority to launch post-presidency impeachments to avoid a so-called January exception.

“On balance, I believe that the better constitutional argument is that a former president can be impeached and tried—that is, that the Senate has jurisdiction to hold a trial,” Cruz wrote.

“However, nothing in the text of the Constitution requires the Senate to choose to exercise jurisdiction,” he continued. “In these particular circumstances, I believe the Senate should decline to exercise jurisdiction—and so I voted to dismiss this impeachment on jurisdictional grounds.”

Cruz, a sharp legal mind in his own right, had previously offered to argue Trump’s case for vote fraud during the 2020 election if it were to reach the US Supreme Court.

However, the court rejected several of the 80-some cases brought in the election’s aftermath, not on their merits but due to technicalities such as lack of standing.

Democrats’ case that Trump incited violence at the US Capitol rests largely on the baseless premise that the president was trying to undermine the outcome of a free and fair election.

But by presenting evidence that there was massive vote fraud during the election, Trump’s attorneys may seek to erode the false premise underlying the partisan ploy to prevent Trump from running again in 2024.

Cruz noted that regardless of whether there was a justification for the Senate to hold ex-presidents accountable for their actions while in office, the particular circumstances of this impeachment effort did nothing but undermine the constitutional check against the executive office by paving the way for overreach and petty retribution in the legislature.

“The present impeachment is an exercise of partisan retribution, not a legitimate exercise of constitutional authority,” Cruz wrote.

“… In different circumstances, the Senate could choose to exercise its constitutional authority to try a former office-holder,” he continued. “But here, when the House has impeached without evidence or Due Process, and when it is petty and vindictive and it fails to meet the legal standard, then the Senate should have declined to exercise jurisdiction.”

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