Rep. Jim Jordan: Trump impeachment trial – here's what the Senate must do
It's been almost a month since he left office, but Democrats still can't let go of President Donald Trump. That's why, as our country faces many urgent challenges, the Senate will set aside its real work this week and instead focus on yet another political impeachment charade.
After all the bluster and rhetoric from the House Democrat managers, the Senate must acquit President Trump because the facts and the Constitution are on his side.
We all agree that the events on Jan. 6, 2021, were as wrong as wrong can be. Every American has the right to peacefully protest. But there is no place for political violence of any kind – whether in Washington, D.C., or in Portland, Ore. Republicans have been consistent in denouncing acts of political violence. Democrats have not, and now they are casting political blame for what happened at the Capitol.
President Trump did not incite the violence of Jan. 6. News reports suggest the FBI knew in advance that violence would occur. The U.S. Capitol Police also reportedly understood that there was a "strong potential for violence" that day. Pipe bombs had been placed before President Trump's speech. So how can Democrats accuse President Trump of inciting violence when the violent acts had been planned in advance?
Far from inciting violence, President Trump urged listeners to "peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard." Those who failed to heed the President's advice and who committed the acts of violence must be held accountable. But Democrats cannot seriously accuse President Trump of inciting violence when he specifically called for peaceful protests.
Democrats ignored these facts. They also ignored the Constitution. Democrats afforded President Trump no due process in the House of Representatives. In fact, there was no process whatsoever – no witnesses, no depositions, no hearings, no cross-examinations.
Because Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., withheld sending the article of impeachment to the Senate until after President Trump left office, the Senate is poised to conduct an unprecedented impeachment trial of a president who is no longer in office. The only problem? The plain text of the Constitution makes clear that's not allowed.
The Constitution states the "President ... shall be removed from office on impeachment ... and conviction." The Constitution also specifies that "Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor." The Senate obviously can't remove a president who is no longer in office, and so it can't disqualify a president from future office if it didn't remove him while he was in office.
The Constitution also requires that the chief justice of the United States preside over a presidential impeachment trial. Chief Justice Roberts has said that he won't preside over this trial. The substitute presiding officer, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is also a juror who has already signaled support for President Trump's conviction. Americans know this arrangement wouldn't fly in a court of law, and it's equally concerning in this trial too.
In their desperation to attack President Trump, Democrats are trampling on other important constitutional rights. Last week, Democrats threatened President Trump that if he declined to testify during the Democrats' impeachment charade, they would use it as proof of his guilt. That may be how trials work in socialist countries. But that's not how it works in America.
Democrats are going to these lengths because they are obsessed with canceling President Trump. Democrats tried to impeach President Trump at least nine times since January 2017. They investigated him endlessly – the Russia hoax, the Mueller investigation, the first sham impeachment. They pestered him, his family and his associates.
But President Trump wasn't fazed. He got results for the American people.
President Trump said he'd cut taxes, and he did. He said he'd reduce regulations, and he did. He said he'd get out of the Iran nuclear deal, and he did. The president said he'd put the U.S. Embassy to Israel in Jerusalem, and he did. He said he'd build a wall on our southern border, and he did. He said he'd bring hostages home, and he did. The president said he'd win approval of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade, and he did. He said he'd appoint well-qualified conservative Supreme Court justices, and he did – three times.At the end of the day, Democrats don't want President Trump to run for office again. They're scared of him. They know he works for the American people, and not the Washington Swamp. Unlike most politicians, President Trump did what he said he'd do. Hopefully, one day, he'll get to do it again.
The Senate must stand up for the facts and the Constitution. The Senate must acquit President Trump.
Republican Jim Jordan represents Ohio's Fourth District in the U.S. House of Representatives and is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He is a co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus.
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