Republicans Propose Making Sham Impeachments Harder in the Future

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Posted: Feb 06, 2020 5:30 PM
Republicans Propose Making Sham Impeachments Harder in the Future

Source: AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Democrats just managed to ram two ambiguous articles of impeachment through the House, with no underlying crimes, and then tie up the Senate with a long, boring trial despite the fact that everyone already knew the whole thing was going nowhere. So lots of people are now thinking the impeachment process needs to be a little bit harder, otherwise MSNBC will just spend the remainder of Trump's presidency dreaming up novel ways to remove the president from office. 

On Thursday, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) announced that he would introduce a constitutional amendment upping the simple majority needed to pass articles of impeachment in the House to a three-fifths majority instead. But unlike passing articles of impeachment, adding a proposed amendment to the Constitution is actually somewhat difficult. Ratification requires two-thirds approval by both bodies of Congress, or a convention of the states, as well as the approval of three-fourths of state legislatures.

"It should be harder – much harder – for either political party to take the process our Founders created as a last resort against a tyrannical leader and use it instead as a tool for the tyranny of a political majority," Sen. Scott said in a statement. "I look forward to all of my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, joining me in this effort to protect the integrity of our nation and our constitution."

Additionally, 16 GOP senators are backing a proposed rules change by Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri. Under Hawley's proposal, the Speaker of the House couldn't sit on the articles of impeachment in an effort to extract concessions from the upper chamber. The articles would be deemed as received if the House failed to transmit the articles after 25 days of passage. 

(Via The Hill)

It would also allow a senator to try to dismiss the articles of impeachment.

The rules change was sparked by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) delaying sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate after they first cleared the House late last year.

Democrats say the hold up allowed them to put a spotlight on their request for new witnesses and to let a slew of new reports come out about Trump's decision to delay Ukraine aid and his effort to get the country to help "look into" Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

But Hawley told The Hill in a recent interview that he wants to move forward with his proposed rules change so that it would be in place for any potential future trials.

"I think it's a good idea just because I think procedurally we want to make sure that basically the disjuncture between the House and the Senate rules aren't exploited in the future," he said.

While the proposed rule change could pass the Senate -- Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is backing it -- Democrats are unlikely to support any change to the impeachment process that concedes the past few months were nothing more than a partisan witch hunt orchestrated by House Democrats. But keeping the passage of impeachment articles to a simple majority in the House would make it easier for Republicans to give Democrats a taste of their own medicine the next time Democrats find themselves in control of the White House.