Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) conceded Sunday that Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) may be right about the unconstitutionality of former President Donald Trump’s upcoming impeachment trial.
Murphy appeared on Fox News Sunday to discuss the upcoming impeachment trial scheduled to begin Tuesday. Murphy has said that he supports impeaching the president and disagrees with Paul’s argument, but said the Kentucky senator made a valid point.
“I admit this is of course a matter of first impression and so I don’t think the case that Senator Paul is making is a ridiculous one,” Murphy said, according to Fox News.
Dozens of Senate Republicans have already signaled opposition to convicting Trump on impeachment because they believe to do so would be unconstitutional after Trump has already left office. Forty-five GOP senators voted in favor of a motion to dismiss the impeachment article on Jan. 26. Prior to the vote, Paul spoke out against the trial. As The Daily Wire reported:
Paul earlier gave a speech on the Senate floor excoriating the second impeachment push against Trump, pointing out that Chief Justice John Roberts does not plan to preside over a second trial because the Constitution requires him to do so only when the president is being tried.
“The Chief Justice’s absence demonstrates that this is not a trial as a president, but of a private citizen,” said Paul. “Therefore I make a point of order, that this proceeding, which would try a private citizen and not a president, a vice president, or civil officer violates the Constitution, and is not in order.”
Paul also blasted the Democrats for continuing to stoke division among Americans, especially when President Joe Biden is now calling for unity. “Hyper-partisan Democrats are about to drag our great country down into the gutter of rancor and vitriol the likes of which has never been seen in our nation’s history. Instead of doing the nation’s work with their new majorities in the House, the Senate, and the executive branch, Democrats are wasting the nation’s time on a partisan vendetta against a man no longer in office.”
“It’s almost as if they have no ability to exist except in opposition to Donald Trump,” Paul added. “Without him as their boogeyman, they might have to legislate and to actually convince Americans that their policy prescriptions are the right ones.”
Trump’s legal team has also embraced Paul’s argument, reasserting it last week while rejecting a Democratic offer for the former president to testify at the Senate impeachment trial.
“We are in receipt of your latest public relations stunt. As you certainly know, there is no such thing as a negative inference in this unconstitutional proceeding,” Trump’s attorneys Bruce Castor and David Schoen wrote in a response to lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD). “Your letter only confirms what is known to everyone: you cannot prove your allegations against the 45th President of the United States, who is now a private citizen.”