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ICYMI: Rubio Joins the Hugh Hewitt Show
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined The Hugh Hewitt Show to discuss the impeachment trial. See below for highlights and listen to the full interview here.
On the constitutionality of impeaching a former president:
“Even assuming Congress did have the constitutional power to impeach and remove a former official, it shouldn’t, and here’s why. It’s the creation of a new political weapon that we will see used. We’ll regret creating that weapon. One day, it’ll be used by a Democratic Senate to disqualify a former cabinet member who wants to challenge a Democratic incumbent. And one day, it’ll be used by a former Republican, future Republican Senate to disqualify a Democratic vice president from running for president.
“We’ll regret creating that tool. Donald Trump is now a private citizen. And if in fact he has committed crimes as the House managers claim he has, then he is answerable to the civil and criminal courts of this country, no longer to the Senate.”
On Article II, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution:
“Well, yesterday, we were encouraged to use our common sense. Common sense tells you in the plain reading of those words a couple things. The first is that at that time, not only did the British in England, did they have impeachment trials for former officials, they had impeachment trials for private citizens. And the Constitution made pretty clear in the words, in the plain reading of those words that they rejected that view, because they didn’t include it. It didn’t say current and former officials. It just said officials. That’s the first point.
“The second is that the logic tells you that the primary purpose, the primary remedy of the measure is no longer available. It’s the equivalent of saying, of going to court and saying well, it’s being dismissed because the relief cannot be granted. It’s not a possibility. You can’t give the death penalty to someone who’s died. You can’t remove from office someone who’s no longer in office.”
On the outcome of the Senate’s impeachment trial:
“I don’t believe there’ll be 44 [votes]. I don’t believe that the President will be convicted, but I think there’s this false choice that’s being presented, and that is unless you vote to convict, you are endorsing the events of January 6th, which I rejected minutes after it started, consistently since then.
“All of the evidence presented this week, virtually all of it, I was aware of. I was impacted by seeing it again. It stirred up anger in me. But if we’ve learned anything from this experience, it should be that we should not be driven to make decisions on the basis of anger, because it leads you to make destructive decisions. And in my mind, it would be destructive to this country to create a new political weapon, which is impeachment used against former officials who are answerable to the courts of this country like any other private citizen.”
On Senators changing their votes:
“I don’t [know anyone], but again, you know, I haven’t asked everyone. And it’s possible that someone might have in one direction or in another. I just don’t know. Obviously, the arguments are not complete. We’ll see what they present today, and we could go into a bunch of other arguments that some have focused on about the hypocrisy embedded in all of this.
“I mean, one of the House managers, I think, tweeted something like boo hoo when Susan Collins was being attacked in her home by people who clearly had gotten their hands on her, might have done physical harm and things of that nature. But you know, I prefer not to spend too much time on those issues, because frankly, to me, though, the elementary issue is whether we should be using this weapon the way we are or not. And my answer is we shouldn’t.”
On an impeachment trial versus a judicial trial:
“Well, I think it’s better to remind everybody that this is not a jury trial. This is not a judicial proceeding. It has judicial-looking elements to it, but it is not, I read these people that say oh, you’re a juror, you need to sit there. And I thought the best line was Tim Scott’s, which is he’s as impartial as the other 99 people are. You’re absolutely right. I mean, the unique aspect to this one is that every single juror in this case is not just partial.
“In essence, I think almost every senator has given an indication of how they intend to vote, including the presiding officer. But every single senator was, for the most part, both a witness and a victim of all of this. And so it’s very unique. This is a political process. Impeachment is a political process that has some judicial trapping to it, but it is not a judicial process. It just isn’t.”
On the expected end of the trial:
“Well, I think, it appears from press reports that the President’s lawyers are going to wrap up today and get to questions, so it’s possible that we could have a vote as early as tomorrow night or maybe Sunday morning, it looks like.”