Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) called the impeachment process against former President Donald Trump a farce in an op-ed on Sunday morning and suggested that it should be dismissed before the trial can begin.
In an op-ed for The Hill called “Boycott Sham Impeachment,” Paul wrote: “The Constitution says two things about impeachment — it is a tool to remove the office holder, and it must be presided over by the chief justice of the Supreme Court.”
“If Justice Roberts is not presiding over this, then it is not impeachment. This charade will be nothing more than bitter partisanship and political theater,” wrote the junior Kentucky senator.
Politico, citing multiple Republican and Democratic “sources close to the impeachment trial negotiations,” reported last week that Chief Justice John Roberts didn’t want a role in the trial. A spokesperson for Roberts declined to comment to Politico about the story.
Paul, who declined to object to any Electoral College votes, also accused unnamed lawmakers of performing “a little play for their supporters” and said they were “fighting for a different outcome they all knew couldn’t happen.”
But Paul also said politicians who tell crowds to “fight to take back your country” can’t be held responsible for incitement.
If we are to blame politicians for the most violent acts of their craziest supporters, then many of my colleagues would face some pretty harsh charges themselves. I’ve been shot at, assaulted and harassed by supporters of the left, including some who directly said the words of politicians moved them to this violence.
I was there at the ball field when a deranged Bernie Sanders supporter almost killed Steve Scalise and seriously wounded several others. At the time, Democrats were arguing that the GOP plan for health care was “you get sick, then they let you die.” Is it any wonder an insane left-wing gunman took that rhetoric to heart and concluded: “If the GOP is going to let me die then maybe I’ll just kill them first”?
Paul concluded his op-ed: “I am more than willing to work with Democrats to find common ground on protecting civil liberties or ending some of our many foreign military interventions, but no unity or common ground will be found while Democrats continue to fight the last election. This so-called impeachment is a farce and should be dismissed before it is even allowed to begin.”
The impeachment trial has been scheduled to begin the week of February 8, and public statements indicate that while many Republican lawmakers have ruled out convicting Trump — twenty-eight so far — fourteen of them have suggested they’re open to convicting him, according to a Washington Post tracker. Another eight Republican lawmakers have not made public comments or made ambiguous statements on where they would stand.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Senate’s top-ranking Republican, said earlier this month that he had not made a decision on whether to vote to convict Trump.