Democrats: It's 'Constitutional' to Impeach a Former President
Rep. Jamie Raskin makes case against Trump
Lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) argued it is constitutional to impeach a former president.
Raskin, who promised to impeach President Donald Trump as soon he took office, while also objecting to the certification of 2017 election results, is now arguing the case for the impeachment of a private citizen.
Raskin told the Senators that if they did not hold a trial, they would allow all presidents to commit misconduct before leaving office.
Raskin argued that Democrats impeached Trump before he left office, implying that meant the process was legitimate for that reason.
He also gave examples of states that intended impeachment to apply to officals no longer in office.
Raskin also argued that the Founders believed that election challenges were especially grave abuses of power by leaders.
Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) argued that the Senate agreed to hold an impeachment trial of former Senator William Blount for corruption.
Neguse was expelled by the Senate before holding an impeachment trial.
As the Senate’s own website notes (emphasis added):
Despite Blount’s absence, his impeachment trial began in the Senate on December 17, 1798, and quickly focused on the Senate’s right to try an expelled senator.
In a narrow vote, the Senate defeated a resolution that asserted William Blount was an impeachable officer.
In this vote, the Senate failed to make clear whether its decision stemmed from a belief that no senator could be impeached or from the belief that someone who ceased to hold a “civil office” also ceased to be impeachable.
In contrast, Trump's legal team argued the effort to impeach him violates his First Amendment right to free speech and is unconstitutional.
A memo from Trump’s lawyers — Bruce L. Castor Jr., David Schoen, and Michael T. van der Veen — stated:
“The Senate should dismiss these charges and acquit the President because this is clearly not what the Framers wanted or what the Constitution allows."
The 78-page memo, released Monday, detailed their case against the push to impeach Trump after leaving office.
"Conviction at an impeachment trial requires the possibility of a removal from office,” the lawyers wrote.
"Without that possibility, there cannot be a trial."
“The Constitution only gives the Senate jurisdiction over the President, not the former President, of the United States,” the memo reads.
Trump's lawyers also argue that the First Amendment constitutionally protected his January 6th speech.
“President Trump’s speech at the January 6, 2021 event fell well within the norms of political speech that is protected by the First Amendment, and to try him for that would be to do a grave injustice to the freedom of speech in this country,” the memo concluded.