The Bryan Times,
Consider the words of Senator Rob Portman in a statement he released after voting not guilty in the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump. He said that he and others supported state certifications of the election results as their constitutional duty “and as a signal that we will not be intimidated and that mob rule is not going to prevail here…. The siege of the U.S. Capitol on January 6th was an attack on democracy itself. I have said that what President Trump did that day was inexcusable because in his speech he encouraged the mob, and that he bears some responsibility for the tragic violence that occurred. I have also criticized his slow response as the mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, putting at risk the safety of Vice President Pence, law enforcement officers, and others who work in the Capitol.”
Portman continues, “Even after the attack, some of his language in his tweets and in a video showed sympathy for the violent mob”.
Portman by his own statements appears to concede that President Trump was guilty of the Articles of Impeachment brought against him by the House of Representatives. His statements indicate that the Impeachment Managers proved their case. Portman notes that he believes that maintaining an oath to uphold the Constitution is something “that I believe the president did not keep on January the 6th.” At this point it certainly appears that Portman will vote to convict, but the wily politician finds a way out.
He then explains his not guilty vote this way: “The threshold question I must answer is whether a former president can be convicted by the Senate in the context of an impeachment…the Constitution reserves the narrow tool of impeachment and conviction for removal of current officeholders and current presidents.” Portman’s opinion is not precedent and is disputed by most legal scholars. His decision also requires that Portman ignore the fact that Trump was in office when he was impeached and the Senate would not receive the Articles of Impeachment from the House until after Trump left office thereby providing the rationale for his vote. Once again Portman and 43 other Republican senators put party over country. Finally, acquittal now sets a precedent that future presidents and officeholders can commit crimes in their last month in office without accountability. Real nice legacy to leave, Rob.
Timothy S. Foster