The constitutional text being used to argue in former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial is "ambiguous" and should be read with an "abundance of caution," Sen. Mike Lee said Tuesday before the Senate began hearing evidence.
"It begins with a lengthy diatribe against the former president and ends in his acquittal," the Utah Republican predicted about the proceedings on Fox News' "America's Newsroom." "One of the things we'll begin with today is talking about the fact that there is a constitutional jurisdictional question in front of us. The constitutional text itself is ambiguous. I think it should be read in an abundance of caution to make sure it is not abused for partisan political purposes in future Congresses with future presidents and future ex-officials."
Further, Lee said that if it's determined that there should be no time limit on the appropriate time for impeaching a president, "I think it will take us to a place that's not good for the country. What we need right now is unity and this doesn't help."
Lee also dismissed comments from those who point out that Trump was impeached while he was still president, even if his trial came after he was gone
"They didn't send the articles of impeachment (immediately) over to the Senate, thus the trial couldn't even begin until after he left office," said Lee. "If they had really wanted to make sure this continued, they would have sent them over immediately. They didn't do that. The interpretation they're using, one that says it doesn't matter when we try the president, it leaves really from a textual standpoint looking at the Constitution doesn't make any distinction between someone who just left office and someone out of office for a year or two years or much longer."
Lee also criticized the fierce partisan fights that have popped up between different members of Congress, in particular, the back and forth between Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.
"As individuals, I think most of us, nearly all of us, really like each other," said Lee. "Neither party is well served when people from both parties just retreat to their respective parties' corner and speak only to their parties' base."
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