Lawyers for former President Trump will challenge the constitutionality of impeaching a private citizen in the trial that is set to begin Tuesday.
“The Senate must summarily reject this brazen political act,” his attorneys wrote in a legal brief, calling the single impeachment article “unconstitutional for a variety of reasons, any of which alone would be grounds for immediate dismissal.”
But according to Rep. Adam Schiff, there is precedent for late impeachment. It’s just in…British history.
In a thread on Twitter, the former lead impeachment manager attempted to make his case.
Our Founders didn’t invent impeachment from scratch. Oh no.— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 9, 2021
According to Hamilton, they looked to Britain which provided “the model from which the idea of this institution has been borrowed.”
In the 18th Century, British Parliament impeached two men – both *former* officials. pic.twitter.com/ZAFHT8t6yX
The Founders accepted this view of impeachment, and adopted it when drafting our Constitution.— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 9, 2021
They also recognized that impeachment had to have “teeth,” so no one could escape accountability by leaving office.
Disqualification from future office was always essential! pic.twitter.com/cTvDzFmU1J
It’s just common sense:— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 9, 2021
Presidents must be accountable for their offenses, whether they occur on the first day of their term or the last.
Our Founders agreed. The history of the impeachment power agrees. There’s no “January exemption.”
Trump must be convicted. pic.twitter.com/1yc22H8O2p
The Washington Examiner’s Byron York said the thread would be better if Schiff had an example from American history.
Thread. A history lesson from the leader of the first Trump impeachment. Would be nice if he could cite an example of a former President of the United States being tried at any time in the 18th, 19th, 20th, or 21st centuries. Of course, there isn't one. https://t.co/lvG0qKvvuM— Byron York (@ByronYork) February 9, 2021
Rep. Schiff is wrong about late impeachment, but he is including little 'Hamilton' GIFs, so it will be interesting if House managers do same in the Senate trial. https://t.co/OTnplCNzOe— Byron York (@ByronYork) February 9, 2021
Senate President Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy will preside over the impeachment trial—another indication that Trump will not get a fair trial, his defense team argued.
"Can you imagine any American citizen considering it to be a trial in which the judge and jury has already announced publicly that the defendant must be convicted in this case?" Trump attorney David Schoen asked earlier this month. "And in fact, Senator Leahy called on, demanded that Senator McConnell vote for a conviction also ... how can we possibly have a fair trial? Chuck Schumer, Senator Schumer promised a fair and full trial. You can't, when you know that the jurors and the judge are biased going in."
He went on to call the impeachment trial "completely unconstitutional" and "a very, very dangerous road to take with respect to the First Amendment, putting at risk any passionate political speaker which is really against everything we believe and in this country."