During an interview on CNN on Sunday, Portman said, “I have said with regard to the president’s comments that day that they were partially responsible for the horrible violence on Capitol Hill. I’ve also said that what he did was wrong and inexcusable.”
The Ohio senator said that we would keep an open mind during the trial as the Democratic impeachment managers make their case against Trump.
However, he added that he believes “this constitutionality issue” regarding the trial of a former president “needs to be addressed.”
He also claimed that “all former presidents — those alive and those not — could be affected in a negative way.”
When asked if failure to convict Trump would be “excusing” his behavior, Portman said, “It can be inexcusable and yet not be subject to a conviction after a president has left office if you look at the Constitution.”
Watch the video below:
Retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) tells @DanaBashCNN what Trump did and said on 1/6 "was wrong and inexcusable" …
…but then "it can be inexcusable and yet not be subject to a conviction after a president has left office." pic.twitter.com/QsN10Yag0N
— The Recount (@therecount) January 31, 2021
The Senate is scheduled to begin its impeachment trial of Trump the week of February 9 to determine whether or not to convict him on the charge of “incitement of insurrection.”
However, Senate Republicans have raised questions about whether it is constitutional to impeach and convict a president after they leave office.
“This argument has been roundly debunked by constitutional scholars from the left, right, and center. It defies precedent, historic practice, and basic common sense,” he said.
Still, 45 Republican senators voted on Tuesday to declare the trial unconstitutional — just five Republicans voted to say that it is constitutional.
Republicans, including Portman, have argued that the impeachment and conviction of a president after they leave office would set a bad precedent. However, the House voted to impeach Trump while he was still the president.
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