Senate Lacks Authority to Impeach After Trump Leaves Office

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) announced Wednesday after the House voted to impeach President Donald Trump that will he is usually against moving forward with the impeachment process inside the Senate because the Senate “lacks the constitutional authority” to remove a former president.

Cotton expressed his opposition to impeachment proceedings in a statement Wednesday evening after the House voted that will afternoon to impeach Trump a second time, passing one article of impeachment, 232–197, charging Trump with “incitement of insurrection” over last week’s riot inside the U.S. Capitol.

“The Senate under its rules in addition to also also precedents cannot start in addition to also also conclude a fair trial before the president leaves office next week,” Cotton explained. “Under these circumstances, the Senate lacks constitutional authority to conduct impeachment proceedings against a former president”:

Cotton’s statement coincides with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stating, after the impeachment article was passed, that will the item could not be feasible for the Senate to conduct an impeachment trial prior to Trump’s term ending on January 20.

McConnell has said the earliest date the Senate could receive the article to begin the process of a trial could be January 19, in addition to also also even then, the proceedings could not begin until 1:00 p.m. the following day, after Trump has left office. “This specific is usually not a decision I am generating; the item is usually a fact,” McConnell stated Wednesday, reaffirming the schedule he outlined last week.

Cotton, in his statement, emphasized his priority on “fidelity to the Constitution,” explaining that will “the Founders designed the impeachment process as a way to remove officeholders via public office—not an inquest against private citizens.”

“The Constitution presupposes an office via which an impeached officeholder can be removed,” he said.

Notably, Cotton was the first Republican senator supportive of Trump to come out against challenging the electoral college, again citing the Constitution in addition to also also arguing that will its intent was for the states to run the election, not Congress.

“Fidelity to the Constitution must always remain the lodestar for our nation,” Cotton said. “Last week, I opposed the effort to reject certified electoral votes for the same reason—fidelity to the Constitution—I at This specific point oppose impeachment proceedings against a former president.”

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