Three former Republican Senators say the former president should face accountability

The following opinion was written by three former Republican Senators, David Durenberger, Larry Pressler and Gordon Humphrey as reported by CNN called “3 former GOP senators: Trump should not escape accountability on a technicality” Most of the opinion can be found below, but a link follows at the bottom.

“Former president Donald Trump incited an insurrection and has faced little consequence for it so far. As such, senators must take on their constitutional duty to sit as impartial jurors in the impeachment trial, regardless of any lingering concerns — unfounded we believe — that the process is unconstitutional.

When the House of Representatives voted to impeach then-President Trump on January 13, by a bipartisan vote of 232 to 197, those voting to impeach knew it was unlikely that the Senate would be able to hold a full trial before Trump left office. However, both Democratic and Republican members of Congress understood that no president, regardless of political party, should be let off the hook for inciting an insurrection against a coequal branch of government, especially as it was convening to conduct its constitutional duty in certifying the Electoral College count.

These members recognized that both Trump’s urgings to protesters to “fight like hell” before the Capitol was breached, and his lack of meaningful action during the six hours it took to restore order, were unacceptable — and that he needed to be held accountable. House members rose to the occasion, honoring their oath and respecting the process despite the unfavorable calendar. It’s time for the Senate to do the same.

The consequence of not holding a trial because a president has left office would send the message that any official in government could escape accountability simply by committing impeachable offenses just before the end of their term.

An impeachment trial isn’t just about removal from office — which in this case we acknowledge is moot. Rather, the trial offers Congress the ability to hold a president accountable for his actions and can lead to a vote on the disqualification from holding federal office again. To put it simply, the impeachment process could signal that officials cannot repeat Trump’s misdeeds in the future without facing serious consequences.

This is why, as former Republican senators, we were disappointed and worried by the 45 Republican senators who voted in favor of a point of order challenging the trial’s constitutionality after being sworn in to “do impartial justice.” Congress should not shirk its duty to act as a check on abuse of power from the executive branch.

And we aren’t alone. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service writes that, ‘most scholars who have closely examined the question have concluded that Congress has authority to extend the impeachment process to officials who are no longer in office.’ Moreover, more than 150 legal scholars across the political spectrum recently signed an open letter concluding, ‘that the Constitution permits the impeachment, conviction, and disqualification of former officers, including presidents.’ The letter included the co-founder and other members of the conservative legal group, the Federalist Society.”

There is truly not much to add to this. I concur with its conclusions and reasons therefor.

3 former GOP senators: Trump should not escape accountability on a technicality (Opinion) (

16 thoughts on “Three former Republican Senators say the former president should face accountability

  1. Note to Readers: Rep. Liz Cheney appeared on Chris Wallace’s show on Fox and reiterated her reasons to vote for impeachment. Senator Lisa Murkowski said the party needs to move on from the former president. These are strong Republican women legislators who know they will get backlash from the MAGA base….and still share their concerns over the former president.

  2. I don’t believe for one minute that unconstitutionality has anything to do with 45 Republican Senators refusal to find Trump guilty. It has much more do with it being a Republican President being impeached and more to the point, their Republican President. This is the man who gave them their power to ignore the needs of the people and instead line their pockets with tax cuts and all without having to bat an eyelid at the severity of the covid crisis.

  3. It is good to see some members of the Republican Party willing to do the right thing, to hold one of their own accountable for his heinous actions against this nation and its people. Sadly, there are too few of these men of conscience in the GOP. You’d think they’d take this opportunity to begin to repair the damage that has been done to the party’s reputation, but apparently too many prefer the circus they have created to a responsible, legitimate political arm.

    • Jill, see my note to David. A vote to acquit Trump will NOT be in their party’s best interest. They need to find guilty the seditious former president. Keith

  4. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    It is good to know that the Republican Party still has at least a few members who haven’t sold their conscience downriver. Our friend Keith tells us of three such men and their reasons for believing that Donald Trump must be convicted of impeachment charges. Now, if only they could inspire others to find their conscience and do the right thing for the nation … Thanks, Keith!

    • Thanks for the reblog Jill. I did post this on about ten Republican Senators’ websites. By the way, I left a message for Rep. Greene asking her to focus on facts and the truth, as it is hard enough to govern without making things up. I had a delightful conversation with a young staff member for Rep. Cawthorn along these same lines.

  5. Note to Readers: The Senate voted 56 to 44 to proceed with the impeachment trial of the former president, including six Republican Senators voting yes. Unsurprisingly, the former president’s legal team seemed unprepared and inconsistent. When a client fires his legal team so close to the date, it is harder to prepare. Apparently, they were surprised by the veracity of the prosecution’s effort. They also have a client who is guilty of what he is accused of, irrespective of the vote count which will likely be shy of the needed 67.

  6. If you [Congress] can’t impeach+disqualify someone after they’ve left office, you [he] could hire an acting cabinet secretary, get them to commit felony, pardon them, have them resign, and repeat? If there were special elections for President, you could do it yourself if you were sure enough of getting the vote again.

    • FC, good point. To me, the key is a president could betray his country his last few weeks in office, as this former president did, and get away with it. As the poor showing of the defense team revealed, if the facts are not in your favor, argue the process. If neither are, attack the messengers. He will likely be acquitted by his sycophants, but that does mean he is not guilty of sedition. Keith

    • David, no telling what this seditious former president or his zealous friends might do. He did throw the domestic terrorists he incited under the bus to save his hind end, so maybe they won’t believe him next time. He is under criminal investigation in Georgia for election tampering, as is his crony Senator Lindsay Graham, as well as in New York for financial woes. Keith

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