Sen. Rand Paul announced that the looming impeachment trial of President Donald Trump has virtually no chance of success – adding that, if anybody, Chuck Schumer deserves to be impeached.
“If we’re going to criminalize speech, and somehow impeach everybody who says, ‘Go fight to hear your voices heard,’ I mean really we ought to impeach Chuck Schumer then,” Paul told Fox News on Sunday.
Forty-five Republican senators voted against holding the trial, strongly suggesting the former president will not be convicted.
The Senate requires at least 67 votes to convict a president during an impeachment trial, while the House only needs a simple majority. Meanwhile, any GOP senator who joins Democrats in voting to convict will likely face intense blowback from their constituents and local Republican Party chapters.
Paul noted that under the same standard posited by Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer should be impeached.
Schumer, the Kentucky Republican said, “went to the Supreme Court, stood in front of the Supreme Court and said specifically, ‘Hey Gorsuch, Hey Kavanaugh, you’ve unleashed a whirlwind. And you’re going to pay the price.’”
“This inflammatory wording, this violent rhetoric of Chuck Schumer was so bad that the chief justice, who rarely says anything publicly, immediately said this kind of language is dangerous as a mob tried to invade the Supreme Court,” Paul continued to say.
In the past, Paul argued that the former president’s comments to supporters on Jan. 6 are protected under the First Amendment.
“People are going to have to judge for themselves … are we going to potentially prosecute people for political speech?” Paul said in the interview.
The House last month impeached Trump for allegedly inciting an insurrection. Trump and his lawyers have said that he did not call on supporters to commit violent acts.
In his speech on Jan. 6, Trump called on supporters to “peacefully and patriotically” make their voices heard during the Joint Session of Congress. Later, he called on them to “go home in peace.”
Unlike the first impeachment effort, Supreme Court Justice John Roberts will not preside over the Senate’s second Trump trial, with Democrats instead opting to use Senate President Pro Tempore Democrat Patrick Leahy. Republicans in the upper chamber have raised concerns about whether the trial is legitimate.
Because Roberts is not presiding, Paul argued that it is “a strong signal to all of us that this was going to be a partisan hearing with a Democrat in the chair, who’s already voted for impeachment.”
“The Constitution says the chief justice presides for a sitting president. So it was up to John Roberts whether he wanted to preside with a president who is no longer sitting, Trump, and he doesn’t want to do it,” Schumer announced in January. Schumer also asserted that it is constitutional to try a former president in an impeachment trial.
Schumer, who has said the trial is designed to prevent Trump from holding office again, described the claim that the trial is unconstitutional as a “fringe legal theory.”
“It defies precedent … and common sense,” he said in remarks on the Senate floor. “The theory that the Senate can’t try former officials would amount to a constitutional get-out-of-jail-free card for any president,” Schumer also told the Senate.