January 14, 2021


Cotton quoted Abraham Lincoln, who said, “There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law.”

“As I said last summer when mob violence gripped our streets, so I say again about the mob violence at our nation’s Capitol last week: those persons responsible should be held accountable in the courts to the full extent of the law,” the senator began.

He suggested that a Senate impeachment trial for Trump after January 20 would involve similar lawlessness.

“The House has passed an article of impeachment against the president, but the Senate under its rules and precedents cannot start and conclude a fair trial before the president leaves office next week. Under these circumstances, the Senate lacks constitutional authority to conduct impeachment proceedings against a former president,” Cotton argued.

“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 officeholder can be removed,” the senator insisted.

At Power Line, Scott Johnson adds that as a result of Mitch McConnell’s decision and subsequent statement, “no Senate trial will be held and Trump cannot be removed until he has left office. Can the Senate convict and remove him once he has already left office? Former Fourth Circuit Judge Michael Luttig argues in this Washington Post column that a Senate trial would be unconstitutional.” Others disagree, as the ABA Journal notes. In any case, “What a wonderful way to kick off the Harris/Biden administration,” Johnson deadpans.

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