Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told Fox News Sunday that there is “zero” chance that former President Donald Trump will be convicted in his upcoming Senate impeachment trial, and that the Democrats are playing host to a “partisan farce” that relies on a standard of guilt that would ensnare many of their top members.
Paul told Fox News that, under the standard at issue, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) would be guilty of inciting violence for comments he made outside of the Supreme Court during a rally targeting Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh over a Louisiana abortion case.
“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 said. “He 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,” he continued.
Indeed, Schumer appeared at a rally in front of the Supreme Court in March of 2020, targeting Justices he believed would vote to uphold a Louisiana law requiring that doctors who performed abortions at clinics in the state maintain admitting privileges in a local hospital.
“I want to tell you, Gorsuch; I want to tell you, Kavanaugh: You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price,” Schumer said per the Washington Post. “You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”
Roberts called the language “inappropriate” and “dangerous” and suggested, at the time, that Schumer was inviting a violent reprisal if the Supreme Court did not vote to strike down the law. “All members of the court will continue to do their job, without fear or favor, from whatever quarter,” he said.
Schumer later explained through a spokesperson that he was referring to a “political price” that Republicans, not the Justices themselves, might pay.
The words, his spokesperson said, were “a reference to the political price Senate Republicans will pay for putting these justices on the court, and a warning that the justices will unleash a major grass-roots movement on the issue of reproductive rights against the decision.”
Paul was clear, though, that the standard under which the House of Representatives impeached Trump could apply to Schumer’s statements as well as those made by other members of Democratic leadership.
“People are going to have to judge for themselves…are we going to potentially prosecute people for political speech?” Paul added, noting that there is “zero” chance the former president will be convicted.
Later in the interview, Paul referred to the upcoming trial as a “partisan farce,” noting that Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) will preside over the trial rather than Chief Justice John Roberts, who announced weeks ago that he would skip proceedings, likely because he believes the Supreme Court may have to eventually judge whether holding a hearing to impeach a former president is Constitutional.
Trump’s trial begins this week.