Less than three weeks after pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, a majority of Senate Republicans voted Tuesday to support a motion by Sen. Rand Paul questioning the constitutionality of the impeachment trial.
The procedural move failed (55-45) with five Republicans joining Democrats rejecting Paul’s attempt to end the trial even before it could begin.
North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis, who sided with Sen. Paul, said afterwards it would be ‘unwise’ to attempt impeachment now that Donald Trump is a private citizen.
Here’s an excerpt from Tillis’ statement:
“The impeachment power can be turned into a political weapon, especially if it is primarily used to disqualify an individual citizen from running for public office. My Democratic colleagues would have rightfully objected to Republicans – when they controlled Congress – using the impeachment power to disqualify former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from running for president in 2016 because of her email controversy.
The great hallmark of our Democratic Republic is self-government, and I have faith in the American people to assess the qualifications of presidential candidates and make an informed decision themselves, just as they have done every four years since George Washington was elected as our first president. Congress should not dictate to the American people who they can and cannot vote for.”
Trump’s impeachment trial is slated to begin on February 8th. Democrats would need 17 Republicans to convict.
Last week, Senator Mitch McConnell said the mob that stormed that Capitol on January 6th was provoked by Trump’s rhetoric.