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Ohio's Senate jurors prepare for start of former President Trump's second impeachment trial

Ohio Senator Rob Portman
Posted at 4:49 PM, Feb 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-08 18:46:17-05

WASHINGTON — The impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump is set to get underway Tuesday afternoon in the chambers of the U.S. Senate. The scene won't quite look like it did a year ago, beyond the COVID-19 changes, there will be no Chief Justice Roberts as a judge but rather Senate President pro-tempore Patrick Leahy. One of the things Republicans point to as part of their argument that the trial is unconstitutional along with the fact that the impeached is no longer in office.

"If you look at the Constitution and it's pretty easy to read, there's not much in there about impeachment," said Senator Rob Portman. "What there is talks about removal and this president's already been removed from office"

Portman said Trump's actions that day were in his words "inexcusable" but "the question is whether a president who has left office who is a private citizen can be convicted."

In a word, Ohio's Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown says yes.

"When a president of the United States, even acknowledged by the Republican leader in the Senate, incited an insurrection you don't just say oh well he shouldn't have done that. You need to hold him accountable."

Brown said what happened at the Capitol on January 6 was a crime, lives were lost and our Democracy was attacked.

"You don't just say 'oh he shouldn't have done that,' you need to hold people accountable. It means the arrests and the convictions of people who it can be proven they get their day in court. President Trump gets his day in court," Brown said.

This is Brown and Portman's third time dealing with impeachment with the first coming 22 years ago in the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. They've always split their votes and will likely do so again but Portman said he'll have an open mind.

"As a juror, I ought to listen to both sides and I will," said Portman. "I did that last time and I'll do it again and I'll do it in a serious way and maybe I'll be convinced in terms of the constitutionality in a different way but right now I do think that's a question mark."