FL’s U.S. Sen. Rubio warns House about ‘playing games’ when transmitting impeachment articles to Senate

Marco Rubio
Marco Rubio is shown in December 2018. Credit: Rubio's Senate office

Forget expecting the U.S. Senate to sit as an impartial jury on whether to sustain the impeachment of Donald Trump and remove him from office, Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio suggested in a series of Twitter posts on Thursday.

“Not a single senator can be an ‘impartial juror’ in the traditional sense of a jury trial in court. All 100 have a preexisting opinion of @realDonaldTrump – seven ran or are running to replace him. Sen. [Elizabeth] Warren decided to convict before the House even revealed the articles,” Rubio wrote.

“The question is whether he has (WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE CONSTITUTION) committed treason; bribery; &/or other high crimes & misdemeanors.”

Rubio, a Republican, appeared unimpressed with the suggestion that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi might delay transmitting the articles of impeachment to the Senate as a means of extracting favorable procedural rules from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“Playing games with the transmission of the articles to the Senate will not impede or influence the Senate, but it will be the kind of partisan political stunt that further undermines the credibility of the process carried out by House Democrats,” Rubio wrote.

“The Constitution provides no guidelines for how senators should arrive at their decision. My decision will be guided by two factors: 1. Conviction carries a mandatory & extraordinary minimum sentence, removal from office. 2. An alternative remedy is available, the 2020 election.

“Therefore, my decision will be based on a two-pronged test: 1. Did the president commit treason, bribery, &/or a high crime or misdemeanor as meant by the Constitution. 2. If so, does it rise to a level warranting removal or is it best left for voters to decide in just 11 months.”

Rick Scott, the other Republican representing Florida in the Senate, hadn’t had much to say about the impeachment as of Thursday morning. Late Wednesday, he posted to his Twitter feed a link to a CNBC interview in which he denounced the proceedings as resting on falsehoods and “hearsay.”

Also on Wednesday, Scott posted the following:

“Today, we’ll watch House Democrats move forward with their partisan impeachment sham. This all comes down to one thing: They hate @realDonaldTrump and they want to undo his historic victory. We won’t let them!”

Editor’s note: We’ve cleaned up the syntax and punctuation somewhat in the above tweets.

Michael Moline
Michael Moline has covered politics and the legal system for more than 30 years. He is a former managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal and former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal. He began his career covering the Florida Capitol for United Press International. More recently, he wrote for Florida Politics.