"We already have a flaming fire in this country and it's like taking a bunch of gasoline and pouring it on top", Marco Rubio, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told Fox News yesterday. "Not only is this going to keep us from focusing on really important things, but it's also just going to stir it up even more and make it harder to get things done moving forward", he said.
As the leader of the House, Nancy Pelosi, seeks to pass the articles of impeachment from the House to the Senate it seems the short memories of American politicians may yet offer a lifeline to an out of office President Trump. The Republican leader has been facing impeachment following his inflammatory speech on January 6, where he urged thousands of his supporters to flock to the US Capitol and protest the congressional certification of Joe Biden's victory in the US polls.
But Trump's 2020 campaign senior adviser Jason Miller said on Sunday that Trump "has made clear his goal is to win back the House and Senate for Republicans in 2022".
Leaders of the Senate, which is divided 50-50 with Democrats holding a majority because of the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris, have agreed not to start the trial until February 9.
The impeachment vote will be the first indication of the extent of the division within Republican ranks. "And history held Richard Nixon quite accountable for what he did as a result". Leaders in both parties agreed to the short delay to give Trump's team and House prosecutors time to prepare and the Senate the chance to confirm some of Biden's Cabinet nominees.
Ever since Trump's impeachment, the federal law enforcement officials have been examining a number of threats aimed at members of Congress including threats about killing legislators or attacking them outside of the U.S. Capitol, a U.S. official told The Associated Press.
She said Democrats would demand accountability of Trump for "an extraordinarily heinous presidential crime".
Rubio also pledged to vote against the trial if presented with the opportunity. Senate Democrats will need the support of 17 Republicans to convict him, a steep climb given Trump's continued popularity with Republican voters.
Ten House Republicans joined Democrats in voting to impeach Trump, a step akin to an indictment in a criminal trial.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll on Friday found that 51% of Americans thought the Senate should convict Trump. The Kentucky Republican said this week that the mob was "fed lies" and "provoked by the president and other powerful people".
Democrats reject that argument, pointing to a 1876 impeachment of a secretary of war who had already resigned and to opinions by many legal scholars. "I think that's separate from the notion of let's revisit this all and stir it up again", Rubio said.
"I think a lot of Americans are going to think it's odd that the Senate is spending its time trying to convict and remove from office a man who left office a week ago", Cotton said.
Trump's supporters invaded the Capitol and interrupted the electoral count as he falsely claimed there was massive fraud in the election and that it was stolen by Biden.
But Romney, the lone Republican to vote to convict Trump when the Senate acquitted the then-president in last year's trial, appears to be an outlier.
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