Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) opposes any move from the Senate to impeach the president. He said they are not legally authorized to do so.
On Wednesday, after the House voted to impeach the president for a second time, citing “incitement of insurrection” over the riot on Capitol Hill last week, Cotton said they don’t have the “constitutional authority” to do so.
“The Senate under its rules and precedents cannot start and conclude a fair trial before the president leaves office next week,” Cotton explained in a statement. “Under these circumstances, the Senate lacks constitutional authority to conduct impeachment proceedings against a former president,” reported Breitbart.
Cotton made the point his priority on “fidelity to the Constitution,” explaining that “the Founders designed the impeachment process as a way to remove officeholders from public office—not an inquest against private citizens.”
“The Constitution presupposes an office from which an impeached office holder can be removed,” he said.
Cotton’s statement comes as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said after the House voted on the impeachment article, an impeachment trial couldn’t be completed before the president leaves the Oval Office on Jan. 20.
McConnell stipulated the earliest day an impeachment trial process could begin was Jan. 19, after 1:00 p.m. as the Senate will not “reconvene for substantive business” until then. The actual trial would begin the following day after the president had left the office and Joe Biden was inaugurated as the next president.
“This is not a decision I am making; it is a fact,” McConnell stated Wednesday, reaffirming the schedule he outlined last week.
Cotton was the first Republican senator supporting Trump to oppose any challenge to the Electoral College vote. His argument was it’s up to the individual 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 now oppose impeachment proceedings against a former president.”