President Donald Trump was officially impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on Wednesday night, making him the third president in American history to be impeached.
However, according to a recent report from Bloomberg, the White House is considering the position that Trump was never impeached at all.
Once a President is impeached by the House, the articles of impeachment go to the Senate, where the President is put on trial with senators acting as jurors. All senators take an oath of impartiality before the trial begins.
As the inevitability of the House's impeachment became clear, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told Fox News' Sean Hannity that he would be working with White House lawyers to make the Senate trial easier for Donald Trump.
Devout Trump ally Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) laughed at the idea that anyone would consider him an impartial juror, and explicitly said he wouldn't be.
Meanwhile, a showdown is occurring between Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and McConnell over whether the Senate will force the firsthand witnesses Trump forbade from testifying to Congress to come forward.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) indicated shortly after the impeachment vote that she wouldn't send the articles of impeachment to the Senate unless Republicans agreed to a fair trial, regardless of the likelihood of Trump's conviction.
And therein lies the argument the White House will reportedly be making: A President isn't officially impeached until the trial goes to the Senate.
According to Bloomberg:
"The White House legal theory, according to a person familiar with the legal review, is that if Trump has been officially impeached, the Senate should already have jurisdiction. Backers of the theory would argue that the clause of the U.S. Constitution that gives the Senate 'the sole Power to try all Impeachments' indicates that the impeachment isn't formalized until the House reported the charges to the upper chamber."
It's customary for the rules of a trial to be established before litigation begins, so people are befuddled as to how a delay pending rules for a trial in the Senate would somehow nullify Trump's impeachment.
What a strange argument. So if you are charged, but you havent gone to trial on those charges, are you not charged… https://t.co/iqnAlfQaTF— Daniel Rodriguez (@Daniel Rodriguez) 1576869680.0
Another bizarre "legality" from the White House. Trump was impeached but was not - because there has been no immedi… https://t.co/MbSekuUYay— David Griffiths (@David Griffiths) 1576871330.0
And what next? Noah had kangaroos on the Ark? Oh, maybe that he was “duly elected” by the American people (he wasn’… https://t.co/C25lTHTxnq— Joel Strauss (@Joel Strauss) 1576870635.0
To others, it was another indication of the White House's refusal to acknowledge reality.
Count the votes. https://t.co/j8IULRzZ9H— Mary Periolat (@Mary Periolat) 1576870345.0
Facts do not matter to this corrupt Administration. https://t.co/R2lTrBKbq8— Jon Ramos (@Jon Ramos) 1576869643.0
https://t.co/pWxmyQ0LQR https://t.co/yMkjODf6AE— Mitzicaulf🧢 (@Mitzicaulf🧢) 1576869876.0
Delusional. https://t.co/eaRf0uDvzC— LEGAL HELP FIRM ⚖️ (@LEGAL HELP FIRM ⚖️) 1576869007.0
The truth doesn’t matter anymore. All that matters is what the guy on your team says https://t.co/4BC1beDhZb— Jarrid (@Jarrid) 1576868979.0
Next they're gonna try arguing it was actually Obama that got impeached, not Trump. https://t.co/IhxpMR7eib— Amanda of House Stark (@Amanda of House Stark) 1576869972.0
While the President and his supporters might be convinced of this argument, history books will nevertheless remember Trump as the third President in U.S. history to be impeached. That is, if those who buy the spurious argument aren't the ones writing the history.