Leahy to Preside Over Impeachment, Not Chief Justice Roberts
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the longest-serving Senate Democrat, will preside over President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial instead of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, The Hill reported.
Roberts oversaw Trump’s first impeachment trial in 2020. The U.S. Constitution says the chief justice presides when the person facing trial is the current president of the United States.
A spokesman for Leahy said the final decision is up to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “Leaders have been negotiating all process issues about the trial, and all along we have deferred to them for any announcements about this and all other process matters,” the aide said.
Republicans criticized the news.
“The Constitution requires that the chief justice preside over the impeachment trial of a president but that’s not what we’re doing,” said Sen. John Cornyn. “That’s indicative of the fact that we’re in uncharted waters. I just think it looks very petty and vindictive, and I understand there are a lot of people who are mad, but the process itself already looks like a railroad job.”
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said the hearing would be illegitimate if the chief justice does not preside, “and really goes to show that it’s not really constitutional to impeach someone who’s not president.”
Leahy voted to remove Trump in 2020’s Senate impeachment trial.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will not preside over former President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial, which is scheduled to begin in earnest on Feb. 8.