GOP lawmaker: Senate should be able to ignore impeachments it doesn't like


Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said the chamber should have no responsibility to take up trials when the House submits articles of impeachment.

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) wants to change Senate rules to make it so that an impeachment trial is no longer automatic when the House impeaches a president. His reasoning? Trials "derail Senate legislative activity."

Cramer announced on Monday that he had submitted some "final thoughts on the impeachment trial" of Donald Trump for the congressional record. In his lengthy statement, he first reiterated his belief that the House of Representatives did not prove its case against Trump.

Next, Cramer suggested a reevaluation of current rules that require immediate trials if the House votes for articles of impeachment, especially when they are — in his view — "entirely partisan."

"While I agree such an enormous responsibility should elicit our undivided attention, it seems illogical to automatically grant primacy to impeachment articles, especially those as flawed as the ones presented by House Democrats," he wrote.

He noted that "impeachment articles brought by the House completely derail Senate legislative activity. We are unable to consider legislation, nominations, or conduct any floor activity."

Cramer likened impeachment trials to Supreme Court confirmations and argued such a change would be no different from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's unprecedented decision to block the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland.

McConnell refused to allow a vote on Garland's nomination for 293 days so that Trump would get to fill Antonin Scalia's Supreme Court seat with a more conservative nominee.

"The Senate was well within its right to decide the timing and consideration, or lack thereof, of this constitutional obligation to consider judicial nominations," Cramer argued, "and the same should be true of impeachment trials."

Three presidents have been impeached in U.S. history. All three were given Senate trials.

Cramer voted to acquit Donald Trump on both impeachment counts last month, after repeatedly voting against allowing fact witnesses to testify during Trump's impeachment trial.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.