FAIRBANKS, Alaska. (KTVF) U.S. Senators are preparing for an impeachment trial as they await the house sending over the articles of impeachment for President Donald Trump.
President of the United States Donald Trump speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore)
“This is one of the most kind of severe and extraordinary constitutional remedies that we have in our constitutional system of government,” said Senator Dan Sullivan.
Sullivan is one of Alaska's two senators and says he takes his role in the trial very seriously, referencing that it is only the third impeachment trial in the Senate in U.S history.
"I want to assure all Alaskans that I've been very focused not just on reading on the history, the federalist papers again, previous speeches, previous trials... I’ve been very focused on that. It's my view that it's important to have fair and impartial hearing procedures in the U.S. Senate," said Sullivan.
Sullivan does not believe the U.S. House has been fair and impartial. “What we just witnessed in the house was... I don’t think this is an opinion, I think this is a historical fact... the most rushed, the most unfair as it relates to the defendant relative to other impeachment trials and certainly the most partisan impeachment in U.S. history,” said Sullivan.
When it comes to what rules they should use for the trial, Sullivan believes they should follow the rules of the President Clinton impeachment trial. “They enable the presenters of the impeachment to come before the Senate, I think it was about 15 or 20 hours to present their case. So let the house democrats present their case in this case; and then let the defendant, essentially the President and his team, come before the Senate, same amount of time, say about 20 hours, to defend their case. That is what happened in the Clinton case. Then you allow Senators to ask questions for again a certain amount of time that they ask questions through the chief justice. The chief justice presdies over the impeachment and then at that point you look at whether you need additional witnesses, additional evidence,” said Sullivan.
Sullivan also said he is worried about setting a precedent. “I don’t think we want to have a precedent that every time there is a new house that is of one party with a new president that is of another party that you move forward on impeachment. That is not what the founders envisioned, I think it would cause massive dysfunction in our ability as a constitutional republic to move forward,” said Sullivan.
Senator Lisa Murkowski has previously said that she desires a full and fair process, also potentially using President Clinton's impeachment hearing as a template.
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