Is it time to impeach Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer? Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul says that if you’re going to use Democrats’ logic, the answer is yes.
In an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” in advance of former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, Paul noted that the words Trump uttered in his speech at the rally before the Jan. 6 Capitol incursion, which Democrats are using as evidence of incitement, were so vague they could have been uttered by any politician.
The example provided in the article of impeachment was Trump’s declaration that “if you don’t fight like hell you won’t have a country anymore.” Never mind that this is removed from the context of Trump’s remarks; it could also be pulled from any politician’s speech from Bangor, Maine to Bakersfield, California. It’s meaningless — and yet, it’s one of the keystone quotes the Democrats are building their case for impeachment upon.
Paul told Fox News’ Chris Wallace that, while he was against the “misguided notion of voting to overturn the election either with Congress or the vice president,” he also didn’t feel the impeachment was constitutional or that Trump’s words rose to the level of incitement.
“If we’re going to criminalize speech, and somehow impeach everybody who says, ‘Go fight to hear your voices heard,’ I mean really we ought to impeach Chuck Schumer then,” Paul said.
“He went to the Supreme Court, stood in front of the Supreme Court and said specifically, ‘Hey Gorsuch, Hey Kavanaugh, you’ve unleashed a whirlwind. And you’re going to pay the price.'”
The comments Paul was referring to came during a pro-abortion rally outside the Supreme Court in March 2020 as the high court was considering the constitutionality of a Louisiana law which required abortionists to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. The law was eventually struck down, but it was Schumer’s language at the rally that still attracts attention a year later.
“They’re taking away fundamental rights,” the New York Democrat said at the protest. “I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price! You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”
As Mollie Hemingway pointed out at The Federalist, this could have turned very ugly, given what happened after Schumer whipped up the crowd: “Across the street, hordes of protesters broke through a police barricade and attempted to beat down the 13-ton bronze doors of the court,” she wrote.
“Protesters included a topless woman with a Hitler mustache and another woman who scaled the Contemplation of Justice statue in front of the court and sat in her lap to the cheers of other protesters.”
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) March 5, 2020
“This inflammatory wording, this violent rhetoric of Chuck Schumer was so bad that the chief justice, who rarely says anything publicly, immediately said this kind of language is dangerous, as a mob tried to invade the Supreme Court,” Paul told Chris Wallace on Sunday.
“People are going to have to judge for themselves … are we going to potentially prosecute people for political speech?” Paul said.
Paul also addressed the constitutionality of the proceedings, noting Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts wouldn’t be presiding over the case.
“Justice Roberts said heck no, I’m not coming across the street because you’re not impeaching the president,” Paul said. “This was a strong signal to all of us that this was going to be a partisan hearing with a Democrat in the chair, who’s already voted for impeachment.”
Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the president pro tempore of the Senate, will likely preside instead.
Paul pointed out there was “zero” chance Trump would be convicted. Save a dramatic courtroom turn straight out of an Aaron Sorkin movie, this is almost certainly true; when Paul called for a vote on the constitutionality of impeaching Trump, only 55 senators said it was constitutional. That’s enough to proceed, but a sign that there won’t be enough Republican votes for conviction.
“If more than 34 Republicans vote against the constitutionality of the proceeding, the whole thing’s dead on arrival,” Paul said just before the vote, adding that if Democrats didn’t clear that hurdle, they should “probably should rest their case and present no case at all.”
The Senate just voted on my constitutional point of order.
45 Senators agreed that this sham of a “trial” is unconstitutional.
That is more than will be needed to acquit and to eventually end this partisan impeachment process.
This “trial” is dead on arrival in the Senate.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) January 26, 2021
Schumer’s language didn’t end in tragedy, but still, Democrats wouldn’t even consider censure. The ugly speech was forgotten and we all moved on.
The Capitol incursion wasn’t spurred on by Trump’s remarks, ugly though they may have been. Democrats rejected censure in Trump’s case, as well; while GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy floated the idea, according to MSNBC, the left wanted impeachment.
Their logic is so flawed, however, that it could just as easily have been used against Schumer — and there was arguably a stronger case against him.
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