Senate Republicans uniting behind impeachment defense

Interviews with more than a dozen GOP senators revealed broad support for the claim that the Senate has no constitutional authority to put a private citizen on trial, which could translate into a substantial number of votes to scrap the trial altogether. The issue came up several times during a Senate GOP conference call Thursday afternoon, according to multiple senators…

“I don’t think, once a person has left office, that impeachment is available. I think it’s a moot issue at that point,” Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said. “Constitutionally, it’s the wrong thing to do.”

In this case, as Republicans note, there is no office from which to remove Trump, though convicting him could lead to other punishments such as barring him from seeking federal office in the future.

“Let the voters decide whether they want President Trump to run again,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said. “There’s nothing I see in the Constitution that allows you to impeach a president after he’s already left office.”