This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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In their fervor to continue to attack former President Donald Trump, Democrats have found themselves in the awkward position of having to explain why Congress cannot impeach and have a trial for any former official.
It is a precarious position as they have used much of their time insisting, and getting the Senate to vote to agree that, the trial of the former president is Constitutional.
And on Friday, Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio asked a pertinent question. He wanted to know if former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could be impeached, tried and prevented from being able to be president in the future, Newsweek reported.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has suggested that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could be impeached and put on trial in the Senate if former President Donald Trump is convicted.
Rubio raised the issue in the Senate on Friday through a question to the House Impeachment Managers and later repeated the idea on Twitter. Senators are able to pose questions to counsel at Trump’s trial.
Some of the former president’s Republican allies had made the claim that trying him violates the Constitution because he’s no longer in office but this was rejected by a Senate vote and undermined by precedent.
“Voting to convict the former president would create a new precedent that a former official can be convicted and disqualified by the Senate,” he asked in a written question that was read to the impeachment attorneys and managers.
“Therefore, is it not true that under this new precedent a future House facing partisan pressure to ‘lock her up’ could impeach a former Secretary of State and a future Senate be forced to put her on trial and potentially disqualify from any future office?” he said.
It is a damn fine question, and it shows that the impeachment standards that Democrats have invented, and some Republicans have gone along with, can be used against Democrats someday.
“If you see it their way, yes. If you do this the way they want it done, that could happen to the example there – a former secretary of state – but it could happen to a lot of people. And that’s not the way this is supposed to work,” the former president’s lead attorney, Michael van der Veen, said.
But the top Democrat impeachment manager, Rep. Jamie Raskin, disagreed with that assessment.
“The Senate entertained jurisdiction exactly the way it has been done since the very beginning of the republic — in the Blount case, in the Belknap case. And you’ll remember, both of them former officials,” he said in response.
“And in this case, we have a president who committed his crimes against the republic and was impeached in the House of Representatives while he was in office. So the hypothetical suggested by the gentleman from Florida has no bearing on this case,” he said.
But Rep. Raskin’s answer did not impress Sen. Rubio, who took his argument to Twitter.
“If the Senate sets a precedent that a former official can be convicted & disqualified it will be just a matter of time before a future House, under partisan pressure to ‘Lock Her Up’, will impeach & the Senate forced to try other former officials A destructive slipper slope,” he said.