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Sen. Tillis says impeaching Trump as a private citizen would set a ’dangerous precedent ‘

North Carolina U.S. Senator Thom Tillis is urging the passage of a legislation that would...
North Carolina U.S. Senator Thom Tillis is urging the passage of a legislation that would create federal penalties for people who target law enforcement officers with violence.(Senator Thom Tillis)
Updated: Jan. 26, 2021 at 7:58 PM EST
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(WBTV) - North Carolina U.S. Senator Thom Tillis says impeaching former President Donald Trump as a private citizen would set a “dangerous precedent” after the Senate rejected a GOP motion to dismiss the impeachment trial.

Sen. Tillis voted against tabling the motion to dismiss the articles of impeachment.

Actually, all but five Senate Republicans voted in favor of an effort to dismiss Trump’s historic second impeachment trial on Tuesday. Democrats are looking to convict the former president for “incitement of insurrection” after the deadly Capitol siege on Jan. 6.

“On January 6, I said voting to reject the states’ electors was a dangerous precedent we should not set. Likewise, impeaching a former President who is now a private citizen would be equally unwise. The impeachment power can be turned into a political weapon, especially if it is primarily used to disqualify an individual citizen from running for public office. My Democratic colleagues would have rightfully objected to Republicans – when they controlled Congress – using the impeachment power to disqualify former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from running for president in 2016 because of her email controversy. The great hallmark of our Democratic Republic is self-government, and I have faith in the American people to assess the qualifications of presidential candidates and make an informed decision themselves, just as they have done every four years since George Washington was elected as our first president. Congress should not dictate to the American people who they can and cannot vote for,” Sen. Tillis said.

While the Republicans did not succeed in ending the trial before it began, the test vote made clear that Trump still has enormous sway over his party as he becomes the first former president to be tried for impeachment.

Many Republicans have criticized Trump’s role in the attack but most of them have rushed to defend him in the trial.

The trial on Trump’s impeachment will begin as scheduled the week of Feb. 8. The House impeached him Jan. 13, just a week after the deadly insurrection in which five people died.

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