Criticism of Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) is continuing to build in the wake of the deadly rioting at the U.S. Capitol that he helped incite. Alongside other Republicans, Hawley helped push the idea that the outcome of the 2020 presidential election was dubious, and on January 6, a mob of frenzied Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building while Congress was inside, hoping to forcibly stop the proceedings to formally certify the electoral college outcome and Biden’s victory. Now, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch — a major newspaper from Hawley’s home-state — has issued a call for Hawley’s resignation unless he decides to support holding Trump accountable at his upcoming Senate impeachment trial.
As the paper notes, the pending trial centers on the following clear question: “Did Donald Trump abide by his oath of office between the Nov. 3 presidential election and the Capitol Hill insurrection on Jan. 6?” The paper added as follows:
‘Missouri’s two Republican senators, Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley, seem confused on this point, diverting the argument to whether impeaching Trump after he’s left office violates the Constitution instead of focusing on the far-more blatant constitutional violations the world knows Trump committed. But there’s still time for them to switch gears and fulfill their sworn oath to impartially weigh Trump’s guilt or innocence.’
After all, the paper added, there’s “no way to credibly argue that Trump protected and defended the Constitution when video evidence shows him directing a mob to storm the Capitol and interrupt constitutionally mandated proceedings to certify the Electoral College result.” Nevertheless, Republicans like Hawley have refused to meaningfully engage with an effort to hold Trump accountable. “[Any] elected official who has law enforcement responsibility and won’t do it needs to resign,” the Post-Dispatch observed. Hawley has already made abundantly clear that he does not intend to fulfill this responsibility.
After the rioting at the Capitol, the Democrat-led House impeached Trump on a charge of incitement of insurrection, but 45 Republican Senators already voted in favor of a measure characterizing his impending Senate trial as unconstitutional. The idea is that putting a former president on trial isn’t constitutional, but this claim isn’t concretely supported by basic legal precedent. As the House members handling the impeachment case noted in a new filing, there’s “no ‘January exception’ to the Constitution that allows a President to organize a coup or incite an armed insurrection in his final weeks in office.” In other words, presidents aren’t somehow allowed to escape accountability for impeachable offenses if they commit those offenses without enough time left in their term to hold a Senate trial. Besides, technically, Trump was actually impeached while still in office.
The brief by House impeachment managers, answering the claim that Trump can't be convicted because he left office: "There is no ‘January exception’ to the Constitution that allows a President to organize a coup or incite an armed insurrection in his final weeks in office."
— Steve Inskeep (@NPRinskeep) February 2, 2021