On impeachment, Pelosi improperly playing games and threatening partisan stunt
By U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
December 19, 2019
For the past several months, House Democrats have carried out a partisan process with the singular goal of impeaching President Trump. In fact, many congressional Democrats began plotting the impeachment even before Donald Trump was inaugurated.
Now House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is playing games by threatening to delay the transmission to the Senate of the two articles of impeachment approved by House Democrats – and not a single Republican – Wednesday night.
This partisan stunt will further undermine the credibility of the process carried out by House Democrats, but it will not impede the Senate from carrying out its constitutional obligations.
While our founders cautioned against partisan impeachments, they wisely gave the Senate the incredible responsibility to decide whether a duly elected president should be removed from office.
As we prepare to play that role, it is important to understand that no senator is neutral – senators cannot be “impartial jurors” in the traditional sense of a jury trial in court. All 100 of us have a preexisting opinion of the president. Seven Democratic senators are currently running or were running to replace him, and many more probably wish they could.
While the talking heads attack the Senate process before it even begins, they conveniently ignore lawmakers like presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who announced she would vote to convict President Trump before the House even revealed the articles of impeachment.
We are required by the Constitution to conduct a trial to reach a judgment, and we must conduct that trial fully. But the Constitution provides no guidelines for how senators should arrive at their decisions.
As I have repeatedly stated, my decision will be guided by two factors. First, an understanding that a conviction carries a mandatory and extraordinary minimum sentence: removal from office – a punishment without precedent in American history. The second factor is that there is an alternative remedy available for those who want President Trump out of the White House: the 2020 election.
We are less than a year away from a presidential election where voters will be allowed to take all information about President Trump into account and render judgment. I would be very cautious, no matter who resides in the White House, about substituting our wisdom for that of the American electorate.
Therefore my decision will be based on a two-pronged test:
Did the president commit treason, bribery, and/or a high crime or misdemeanor as meant by Constitution; and does the president’s conduct rise to a level warranting his removal, or is it best left for voters to decide in 11 months?
This was not the approach taken by House Democrats, who hastily wielded the most serious tool afforded to Congress in the Constitution with blatant partisanship.
But Speaker Pelosi’s last-ditch charade will not prevent senators from fulfilling our constitutional duty to hold a trial.
After this latest partisan ploy is over, I am hopeful that Congress can then move on to continue the important work the American people sent us to Washington to do.
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