Portman Statement on the Constitutionality of the Senate’s Impeachment Trial

February 10, 2021 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) issued the following statement after yesterday’s vote on the Constitutionality of the Senate’s impeachment trial: 

“There is no question in my mind that former President Trump bears some responsibility for the tragic events of January 6, through his words and actions. I have called his comments that day inexcusable. I’ve also consistently said that I believe there are serious constitutional questions surrounding holding a Senate trial with the intent of convicting of a former president. The text of the Constitution prescribes removal from office as the punishment upon conviction, and former federal officials by definition are no longer in office.   

“Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution says: ‘The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.’ This text, in my view, makes clear that the framers reserved the tool of impeachment for removal of current presidents, not private citizens. A president who is no longer in public office cannot be removed from office, regardless of how inappropriate we may deem their conduct.  That’s why I voted that the Senate does not have jurisdiction. The more appropriate place to hold private citizens accountable would be the criminal justice system.”