Donald Trump became the first president in history to be impeached twice when the House of Representatives voted last week to charge him with inciting the January 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol. His Senate trial is scheduled to begin next month.
But there are still concerns about lawmakers' safety, and some believe that it would be best to allow senators to vote secretly to avoid violence and ensure that Republicans go with their conscience, according to a Saturday report from Raw Story.
Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich was first to float the idea, urging Democrats -- who have a one-vote majority in the upper chamber -- to allow a confidential vote.
"If Republican senators had integrity and if Trump supporters were peaceful, this wouldn't be necessary. But they're not and they're not. So a secret ballot offers a better chance of convicting Trump and ensuring he'll never again be president," Reich tweeted.
Legal expert Laurence Tribe endorsed Reich's idea, tweeting that this would not only be fair but lead to Trump being convicted and barred from ever seeking office again.
"A secret ballot would probably convict and ban Trump 100-0. But I guess it's not in the cards, though it'd be the fairest way to proceed -- as with any ordinary jury."Journalist Kurt Eichenwald agreed. In a tweet, Eichenwald pointed out that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will be tasked with designing the rules for the trial and argued that Democrats "should include that vote will be secret ballot."
"For real verdict, @SenateDems should give cover. Adopting this rule can be approved with no GOP votes," he pointed out.
As Raw Story noted, the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6 in an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election took aim at both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.
Notably, some rioters were heard threatening to "hang" former Vice President Mike Pence, a loyal ally of Trump, for refusing to fully endorse conspiracy theories about voter fraud.
Even if GOP lawmakers refuse to convict Trump -- out of fears for their safety or for other reasons -- Democrats may still be able to bar him from holding office again.
As reported by The Inquisitr, some Democratic senators have already floated using the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to block Trump from launching a comeback presidential bid in four years.
This would require a simple majority, so Schumer and others would most likely have the votes. However, some legal experts claim that such a maneuver would violate the Constitution.