Tom Fitton, the president of the right-wing group Judicial Watch, appeared Saturday on Fox News to urge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to use the “nuclear option” if the House of Representative impeaches President Donald Trump, Raw Story reports.
According to the United States Constitution, the Senate “shall have the sole power to try all impeachments.”
“When the president of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside,” the supreme law of the land states.
According to Senate rules, a super-majority — which the Republican Party does not have — is required to change the requirements for an impeachment trial, which means that the Senate will have to hold one if the House votes against Trump.
But according to Fitton, the top Republican should use the “nuclear option,” and violate the rule.
“The Senate is going to have to try any impeachment,” Fitton told Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro.
“And if I were the Senate Majority Leader, I’d tell the House, ‘This is dead on arrival, we’re changing the rules, we are going to kill it before it even gets out of the cradle,” he said, adding that he believes the American people should join him in urging McConnell to change the rules to avoid a trial.
As Raw Story notes, in Fitton’s scenario McConnell would simply ignore the super-majority requirement, avoiding an impeachment trial with 51 Republican votes. McConnell recently confirmed that he has no interest in breaking the longstanding super-majority rule, stating that he would “have no choice” but to take impeachment up for a trial.
As the top Republican explained, if the Democratic-controlled House impeaches the president, the Senate will follow the rules and hold a trial, but how long the trial would last is a “whole different matter.”
Fox guest Tom Fitton says Mitch McConnell should "change the rules to protect the Constitution" and not have an impeachment trial pic.twitter.com/dBWQ0pGWr9
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) October 6, 2019
Although Senate Republicans are not expected to convict the president if the House impeaches him, impeachment could have tremendous political repercussions. Republican leadership is reportedly aware of the fact that some senators are facing strong Democratic challenges, which could put the party’s control of the upper chamber at risk.
Susan Collins of Maine, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Martha McSally of Arizona, and Tom Tillis of North Carolina could all lose their seats to Democrats and jeopardize GOP rule.
Trump, who is being accused of pressuring the government of Ukraine to investigate Democratic front-runner Joe Biden in an apparent effort to damage his campaign, has gone on the attack since the launching of the inquiry.
Trump repeated his calls for an investigation into Biden and his son Hunter, publicly urging China and Ukraine to launch probes. The president has also denied any wrongdoing, suggesting that the inquiry is yet another witch hunt.