A top conservative lawyer has dismissed Republican claims that Trump can't be impeached

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Thomas Colson
·2 min read
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  • Top conservative lawyer Charles Cooper has dismissed Republican arguments against Trump's impeachment.

  • Many Republican senators argued Trump's upcoming impeachment trial was unconstitutional because he is no longer president.

  • "It defies logic to suggest that the Senate is prohibited from trying and convicting former officeholders," Cooper wrote.

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Charles J. Cooper, a leading conservative lawyer in Washington, broke ranks with Republicans on Sunday to argue that former President Donald Trump can be impeached.

In an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, Cooper - who has reportedly advised multiple Republicans including Ted Cruz - said that the Constitution allows the Senate to try a former federal official, in a significant blow to the argument favoured by many Republican senators against Trump's impeachment.

Forty-five Republican senators on January 27 voted in favour of GOP Sen. Rand Paul's motion to declare Trump's impeachment trial - which begins on February 9 - unconstitutional, on the grounds that the Senate was not legally allowed to try a former president.

Cooper said that Paul's argument was flawed because it misinterpreted part of the Constitution which describes the consequences of impeachment. He said the constitution gave the Senate authority to bar officials from holding office, a punishment which could logically only apply to former officials.

"It defies logic to suggest that the Senate is prohibited from trying and convicting former officeholders," he wrote.

The House of Representatives in January impeached Trump for the second time in his presidency for inciting the deadly Capitol insurrection on January 6, when a mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed the building and forced members of Congress to hide or flee for their safety.

Only five Republican senators dissented against Sen. Paul's motion to throw out the trial, making the prospect of Trump ultimately being convicted appear very unlikely.

Some legal scholars including constitutional law professor Johnathan Turley, who briefed the GOP caucus ahead of the January 27 vote, have supported Paul's argument.

But other legal experts have contested that viewpoint, and said that refusing to hold impeachment proceedings against former officials would mean they were able to act unaccountably at the end of their time in office.

"You want to give someone a get-out-of-jail free card at the end of the administration so they can do anything they like and be immune from the high court of impeachment?" Yale Law School professor Akhil Reed Amar told NPR in January.

Read the original article on Business Insider