WASHINGTON, D.C. (KWWL) — During an interview Wednesday, Senator Chuck Grassley said he interprets the impeachment wording in the Constitution to applying only to a sitting President, not a past President.
“The Constitution says ‘the power to remove from office and,” and that ‘and’ is very important because it’s not ‘or’ and to deprive them from ever running from office ever again,” Grassley said. “It seems to me, that phrase means it’s limited to someone who holds a public office.”
This will be Grassley’s third impeachment trial since being elected to the Senate in 1981. His first was the impeachment of President Bill Clinton where he voted guilty. He voted not guilty on the 2020 impeachment trial against President Trump.
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides over the impeachment of a President, but Chief Justice John Roberts will not be the presiding judge as he was in President Trump’s first impeachment. Instead, Senator Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat and Senate President Pro Tempore, will preside over the trial beginning Feb. 8.
“Without his [Chief Justice Roberts] saying so, but by his actions, that he doesn’t think it’s constitutional for a citizen to be covered by the impeachment that’s spelled out in the Constitution,” Grassley added.
Grassley would not comment on where he stands currently on the topic at hand, saying that they take an oath to defend the Constitution but to have a stance of guilty or not guilty before hearing the defense and prosecution would be wrong.