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RAND PAUL: Chief Justice’s Refusal to Participate Helped Crystallize GOP Impeachment Opposition

'That’s a huge, huge signal that there’s something wrong with this proceeding...'

Sen. Rand Paul, who led the way in fighting back against Democrats’ desperate impeachment do-over, said that Chief Justice John Roberts‘ refusal to participated helped boost the argument that it was unconstitutional.

“We’ve long been aware that a constitutional motion is a privileged motion and that it could happen,” Paul told The Hill in an interview Thursday.

“We discussed it within our office,” he continued. “What really crystalized it for me is that about a week ago we were on a Republican conference call and they said the chief justice wasn’t coming.”

Paul’s robust opposition culminated in a fiery floor speech this week to denounce the Democrats effort, once again, to turn one of the constitution’s sacred checks on power into a politicized weapon in order to tighten their own stranglehold on the White House.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had hoped to use the window of opportunity provided by the Jan. 6 uprising at the US Capitol to eliminate the possibility of Trump running again in 2024.

But amid arguments that a post-election impeachment was by its nature unconstitutional, Roberts made known that he would not participate.

As a result, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., would have been presiding over the trial, even though Leahy had previously voted to impeach Trump.

“Myself and others were like, ‘Oh my goodness, the chief justice is not coming,” Paul said. “That’s a huge, huge signal that there’s something wrong with this proceeding.”

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Although 10 House Republicans supported it and five GOP senators were open to the possibility, 45 others voted to declare it unconstitutional. With only 55 senators, maximum, even supporting the premise of it, the verdict would have fallen well short of the 67 needed to convict.

The process also was criticized for being deeply divisive in a time of supposed national healing, as well as interfering with the scheduling of hearings to confirm President Joe Biden’s Cabinet nominations.

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