Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., came out firmly against the upcoming Senate impeachment trial for former President Trump, stating that not only does it raise constitutional issues, but it impedes President Biden’s administration.
In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Rounds addressed the subject by first asserting that impeachment is the constitutionally prescribed method for removing an official, not punishing one who is already gone.
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“To begin with, I think it’s a moot point, because I think right now Donald Trump is no longer the president, he is a former president,” Rounds said. “The Constitution, and I think, and I know that there are other people out there that may disagree with me, but Article I Sections I think 6 and 7 specifically point out that you can impeach the president, and it does not indicate that you can impeach someone who is not in office. So I think it’s a moot point and I think it’s one that they would have a very difficult time in trying to get done within the Senate.”
Rounds went on to say that while the Senate is bogged down with carrying out a trial, they will be using up time that could instead be spent on other tasks such as holding hearings and votes to confirm President Biden’s Cabinet picks. So far, the Senate has confirmed Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
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“I know that the Biden administration would love to have more of their Cabinet in place, there’s a number of Republicans who also feel the same way,” Rounds said. “We should allow this president the opportunity to form his Cabinet, and to get that in place as quickly as possible. If we start working on an impeachment, which looks like we’re going to end up doing, we’ve only got a couple of weeks here in which to actually work through and allow this president an opportunity to form a Cabinet. A lot of us would prefer to maybe work through those issues instead.”
Rounds was not the only Republican senator to speak out against the impeachment over the weekend, as Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told “Fox News Sunday” that the trial was “stupid” and “counterproductive” as the nation tries to move forward following a contentious election and transition period.
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, however, had a different stance from his fellow Republicans. Romney told “Fox News Sunday” that holding the trial was necessary.
“If we’re going to have unity in our country, I think it’s important to recognize the need for accountability, for truth and justice,” he said.
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Romney said he believes that the House’s article of impeachment “suggests impeachable conduct,” but that he will hear the arguments from both sides and “do my best as a Senate juror to apply justice as well as I can understand it.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has said that the trial will begin Feb. 8.