White House counsel Ken Starr argued on Jan. 27 that the Senate would do well to return to a time “when presidential impeachment was truly a measure of last resort.” Starr, a member of Trump’s legal team who also headed the Whitewater investigation into then-President Bill Clinton, reminded lawmakers that of the 63 impeachment inquiries authorized by the House of Representatives throughout history, only eight have resulted in conviction and removal from office — and “each and every one has been a federal judge,” rather than a president. While three U.S. presidents — Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, and now Donald Trump — have been impeached by the House, no president has ever been convicted and removed from office by the Senate. Starr urged Senators to “return to the text of the Constitution itself” in making their decision. He asked senators to consider the fact that presidents do not serve a lifetime tenure, like judges do, suggesting that they should face a higher bar for impeachment, and reminded lawmakers that this was the fourth presidential impeachment in history, but the third over the past half-century. “Like war, impeachment is hell,” said Starr. “Or at least, presidential impeachment is hell.” President Donald Trump’s defense team is presenting their arguments as part of the Senate impeachment trial. Trump’s trial has entered a pivotal week as his defense team resumes its case and senators face a critical vote on whether to hear witnesses or proceed directly to a vote that is widely expected to end in his acquittal. The articles of impeachment charge Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The House of Representatives impeached the president in December on those two counts.
For more on who’s who in the Trump impeachment inquiry, read: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/whos-who-in-the-trump-impeachment-inquiry
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