After a weeks-long impeachment fight, former President Donald Trump was acquitted Saturday of a single charge that alleged he incited an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. But the 24-hour coverage of federal impeachment proceedings may not be over just yet.
According to The Daily Wire, Trump’s defense team argued Friday that the precedent Democrats have set by moving forward on an impeachment trial against a president who is no longer in office could result in some big-name former officials facing similar proceedings — and that includes former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
A “new precedent”
The comments came during a question-and-answer portion of Trump’s impeachment trial, just a day before he was ultimately acquitted in a 57–43 vote, as ABC News reported.
Seven Republicans and all 50 Senate Democrats voted to convict the former president, 10 short of the number needed for the effort to succeed.
Among the Republicans to vote against Trump, according to ABC, were Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, and Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse.
But that might not be the last impeachment these lawmakers see. On Friday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) asked Michael van der Veen, one of Trump’s attorneys, whether convicting Trump “would create a new precedent” under which former officials, such as Clinton, could similarly be impeached.
“Is it not true that under this new precedent, facing calls to ‘lock her up,’ a future House could impeach a former Secretary of State and potentially disqualify her from any future office?” Rubio asked, according to The Daily Wire.
“See it their way”
Van der Veen didn’t mince words in response.
“If you see it their way, yes,” he said, referring to the House impeachment managers. “This could happen to…the former secretary of state. It could happen to a lot of people. That’s not the way this is supposed to work.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), House Dems’ head impeachment manager, disagreed and attempted to draw a distinction between Trump and Clinton, though he didn’t use her name. “This official was not impeached in office for conduct while in office,” he said of the former secretary, as The Daily Wire reported.
In any case, the result of Trump’s trial is now decided — and with his acquittal, he’s free to run for office again in the future, despite Dems’ best efforts.
Could a 2024 White House run be in the cards for the former commander-in-chief? Only time will tell.