Sen. Marsha Blackburn joined with Sen. Bill Hagerty and 43 other Senate Republicans in voting to dismiss the impeachment charge against former President Donald Trump as unconstitutional.
Efforts to impeach Trump
Exactly one week following the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, the House voted in favor of impeaching Trump on charges of inciting an insurrection. The articles of impeachment were delivered to the Senate on Monday, with a Senate trial expected to commence in two weeks on Feb. 8.
On Tuesday, however, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) forced a vote against holding the impeachment trial in its entirety, arguing that its unconstitutional given that Trump is no longer in office. The vote failed 45-55, with all but five Senate Republicans — including Blackburn and Hagerty — voting in favor of dismissing the trial.
Despite Paul's interpretation of it being unconstitutional to impeach a former federal office holder, lawmakers have done so in the past, with one such example being Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876 over corruption charges.
Blackburn, Hagerty both call efforts to impeach "unconstitutional"
"Today I voted to support Sen. Rand Paul‘s objection to holding a partisan, unconstitutional trial against a former president," reads a statement from Blackburn. "It is time for our country to move forward, instead of looking backwards and fighting the same battles with each other.”
Hagerty shared Blackburn's sentiments, and added that lawmakers' efforts would be better served "controlling the pandemic" and "getting the American people back to work."
"Today I was sworn-in for the upcoming trial, but this solemn oath was administered by a Democrat senator, rather than the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, further supporting the view that this continued impeachment effort against a former President is an unconstitutional, political sideshow," reads a statement from Hagerty.
"Under Article 2, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution, a presidential impeachment trial — the purpose of which is to determine whether the President should be removed from office — must involve ‘The President,’ and Article 1, Section 3 provides that, ‘When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside.’"
"Yet, ‘the President’ is not on trial, and the Chief Justice is not presiding, which speaks volumes about the constitutionality of this proceeding. It’s time to focus on controlling the pandemic, and getting the American people back to work, and our children safely back in school, which is why I voted to end this.”