On Thursday, Feb. 4, former U.S. appellate judge and Solicitor General Ken Starr said during an interview with journalist John Solomon that the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump violated the history and structure of the Constitution.
It “is a flagrant violation of the text, structure, and history of our Constitution, and of the historical example of the Nixon resignation, and the cessation at that stage in the House of Representatives of impeachment inquiry,” Starr said.
Ken Starr comments on Chief Justice Roberts not presiding the impeachment trial
Starr, who represented Trump in his first impeachment trial, told Solomon that he had suspicions that Chief Justice John Roberts had opted not to preside over the upcoming Senate trial on constitutional grounds, according to Just the News.
“I’m going to draw one conclusion. and that is that the chief justice of the United States reads the Constitution and says, ‘I have no authority to preside.’ No authority whatsoever.”
In fact, I think it would be a violation of the Constitution for the chief justice to come and preside over the trial of a former president, because the Constitution is very clear: In cases of impeachment of the president of the United States, the chief justice of the Supreme Court shall preside.
Starr said he would like to see a formal response from Chief Justice Roberts to confirm the unconstitutionality of impeachment. “Let’s have someone send a letter to the chief justice of the United States saying, ‘Excuse me, you have a duty to be here.'”
“And I would hope that the chief justice would respond in a formal way in these proceedings to say, ‘I do not have authority because this is not the sitting president of the United States,'” Starr said.
Who will preside over the impeachment trial?
According to a Jan. 14 Associate Press report, there is still confusion over who will preside over the trial given that “the Constitution says the chief justice must preside over the impeachment trial of a president. But what about a former president? The answer is no one because a post-presidency trial would be unconstitutional.”
Former President Trump has said he will not testify in his impeachment trial because as released by his senior adviser, Jason Miller, he “will not testify in an unconstitutional proceeding.”
Will former President Trump testify?
According to Fox News, on Thursday the legal team of former President Trump rejected impeachment manager Jamie Raskin’s request for Trump to testify in the impeachment trial in the Senate, calling it a “public relations stunt.” The team added that Democrats “cannot prove” the accusations against him.
The comments came after House impeachment managers asked the former president to testify under oath before or during the Senate impeachment trial.
Trump’s attorneys Bruce Castor and David Schoen challenged such a decision stating, “There is no such thing as a negative inference in this unconstitutional proceeding.”
“Your letter only confirms what is known to everyone: you cannot prove your allegations against the 45th President of the United States, who is now a private citizen,” they added.