Rounds says impeachment trial of former President is unconstitutional
On Monday, the House delivered its article of impeachment to the Senate. On Tuesday, members of the House who will act as trial lawyers will be sworn in. The trial is set to begin February 8.
WASHINGTON — South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds joined 44 of his Senate colleagues in declaring that the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump is unconstitutional because he is now a private citizen.
“The Constitution is clear that holding an impeachment trial of a former president, former official, or – more specifically – a private citizen, is unconstitutional and that the Senate should not go down this path. Donald Trump is no longer in office and is now a private citizen. Impeachment is intended to be the legislative branch’s check on the executive and judicial branches of government – not a check on our constituency,” Rounds said. “Our Founding Fathers did not intend to put private citizens on trial in the Senate. Why, then, would we hold an impeachment trial of which the immediate consequence upon conviction – removal from office – is something that has already happened? Removal from office implies that the subject to be impeached must be in office. It doesn’t make sense.”
Senator John Thune previously stated in an interview with Politico that constitutionality was a concern for many Republican Senators.
“Our members, irrespective of what they might think about the merits, just believe that this is an exercise that really isn’t grounded constitutionally and, from a practical standpoint, just makes no sense,” Thune said.
Trump faces a single impeachment charge – “incitement of insurrection” – following the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.