Rudy Giuliani says he cannot represent President Donald Trump in his Senate impeachment trial because he is already a witness in the case, the president’s lawyer said Sunday.
The single article of impeachment passed Jan. 13 by the Democrat-controlled House charges Trump with “incitement of insurrection” for his role in a mob of his supporters storming the Capitol on Jan. 6. Both Giuliani and Trump delivered speeches to the then-protesters earlier that day that Democrats and many Republicans argue amounted to incitement. Giuliani’s proximity to the case prevents him from representing the president, he told ABC News on Sunday. (Rudy Giuliani Says America Needs ‘Trial By Combat’ To Decide Election)
Rudy Giuliani now says he won’t on the Trump impeachment defense team. “Because I gave an earlier speech [at the January 6 Trump rally], I am a witness and therefore unable to participate in court or Senate chamber,” he tells me.
— Jonathan Karl (@jonkarl) January 18, 2021
Ten Republicans joined with House Democrats in voting to impeach Trump. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declined to hold a special Senate session to hold the trial for Trump. The trial will take place after Trump has left office.
President-elect Joe Biden has condemned Trump’s actions relating to the Capitol riots, but he has been hesitant to support the impeachment effort outright. He says impeachment is “a question for Congress,” and warned that he and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris expect Congress to get started on day one with voting on his agenda, not be distracted with impeachment proceedings.
The possibility of Trump being convicted in the Senate was unlikely during his first impeachment trial, but the prospect is now plausible thanks to many Republicans’ horror at Trump’s role in the storming of the Capitol.
House Majority Whip and South Carolina Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn has suggested that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi not deliver the article of impeachment to the Senate until 100 days after Biden is inaugurated, giving the administration time to “get his agenda off and running.” (RELATED: Is There A Chance Trump Is Impeached And Convicted Before The End Of His Term?)
A Republican congressional aide is skeptical that the Republicans’ will to vote to convict Trump will survive 100 days.
“I think the timing really creates a problem,” one GOP Senate aide told The Washington Post. “If we somehow voted on impeachment [on the night of the riots], we could have gotten 80 votes.”
“I can’t imagine a world where we get through the 100 days and think, you know what we really need to tackle is? Impeaching Trump. Democrats should have stuck to it through the weekend and voted it for it ASAP. I think it was a huge tactical error on their part,” the aide added.