Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said in a statement late Wednesday that he will oppose another Senate impeachment trial after the House passed an article of impeachment alleging President Trump incited the riot at the Capitol and is unfit for office.
Cotton pointed out that the Senate will be unable to “start and conclude a fair trial” while Trump is in office, and the Founders “designed the impeachment process as a way to remove officeholders from public office—not an inquest against private citizens.”
Trump was impeached for a historic second time after being charged with “incitement of insurrection” over the deadly mob siege of the Capitol. Ten Republican members of the House joined Democrats and said the president needs to be held accountable.
Democrats were pressuring Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to invoke a 2004 resolution that could bring the Senate back quickly for what would essentially be an emergency session to begin the impeachment trial as soon as possible. But McConnell’s office said Wednesday that it will not invoke the resolution, meaning that any impeachment trial almost certainly will not start until Trump has left office.
Cotton was once seen as an ally of the president, but some Trump supporters criticized him after he said that he would not oppose the counting of certified electoral votes to confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory.
Cotton said in the statement that fidelity to the Constitution must always “remain the lodestar for our nation.”
“Congress and the executive branch should concentrate entirely for the next week on conducting a safe and orderly transfer of power,” he said in a statement. “After January 20, Congress should get on with the people’s business: improving our vaccination efforts, getting kids back to school, and getting workers back on the job.”
Fox News’ Tyler Olson and the Associated Press contributed to this report