The House voted 232–197 last week to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time, USA Today reported, and a trial in the Senate could start as soon as this week. But with President-elect Joe Biden set to be sworn in on Wednesday, some have speculated that Democrats are vying for more than just Trump’s removal with their latest efforts — and now, one senator seems to have confirmed their worst fears.
According to Breitbart, Hawaii Democrat Mazie Hirono said during an appearance on CNN on Thursday that beyond impeachment, she wants the Senate to act “to prevent the president from ever holding public office again.”
Speaking with CNN host Don Lemon, the senator said the current impeachment proceedings against Trump, which charge that he incited a recent attack on the U.S. Capitol, come in stark contrast to the effort mounted by Dems just a little more than a year ago. House Democrats impeached Trump in late 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice, but the Senate ultimately acquitted the president two months later, The New York Times noted.
“You know, the thing is, Don, that this impeachment trial, which is very different from the first impeachment trial, is [with] this trial, we were all witnesses. We were there,” Hirono said Thursday. “We heard the president. We heard what he said. We saw what happened.”
“That is impeachable”
Hirono went on to explain that it’s now up to the Senate “to decide whether the president, in fact, incited an armed insurrection on another branch of government. And I say that that’s what happened,” she said. “That is impeachable.”
The senator went on: “The second part that’s important, Don, is to prevent the president from ever holding public office again.”
Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono says she doesn’t believe “Mitch McConnell is going to whip his caucus” in favor of convicting President Trump in the Senate impeachment trial.
— CNN (@CNN) January 15, 2021
A divided caucus
Although Democrats are expected to overwhelmingly vote for Trump’s ouster when the matter hits the upper chamber, members of the president’s own party appear far more divided. According to Fox News, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said in a recent memo that he has yet to make up his mind on whether to vote to convict Trump.
“While the press has been full of speculation, I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate,” McConnell wrote last week.
But if the Republican leader does vote against the president, even Hirono isn’t confident that the rest of his party will join him. “Will the GOP fall in line if [McConnell] votes to convict?” Lemon asked her Thursday.
“I don’t think they’ll all fall in line,” the senator said, according to Breitbart. “I don’t think that Mitch McConnell is going to whip his caucus, and he’s got a pretty divided caucus.”