The consequence of not holding a trial because a president has left office would send the message that any official in government could escape accountability simply by committing impeachable offenses just before the end of their term.
To be clear, we believe the Constitution clearly allows the Senate to engage in an impeachment trial after an official has left office.
The legal consensus and historical precedent make it hard to believe that 45 Republican senators are truly concerned about whether the Constitution allows for this trial. Rather, it appears some are hiding behind a procedural question in order to avoid a vote that would upset Trump’s most loyal supporters.
But now is not the time to worry about electoral consequences. The Republican Party cannot rely on one man for its future; instead Republicans must stick to their principles and vote their conscience.
Other than declaring war, the decision to convict the former president and bar him from future office is likely the biggest decision a senator faces. So we urge the Senate to set political concerns aside and to perform its constitutional duty, follow Senate precedent, and conduct a fair trial.
As impartial jurors, senators should want to hear all the testimony and examine all the evidence before casting their votes to either convict or acquit. And they should not acquit simply because Trump is no longer in office or they fundamentally believe the trial is unconstitutional. We cannot let former President Trump escape accountability on a technicality.