Sen. Rand Paul on Friday claimed that Congress is “overreacting” by impeaching Donald Trump and warned that “one-third of Republicans will leave the party” if GOP senators come together with Democrats to convict the outgoing president over his role in the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week.
“I didn’t agree with the fight that happened last week, and I voted against overturning the election,” Paul said during an interview with Fox News Friday night. “But at the same time, the impeachment is a wrongheaded, partisan notion. But if Republicans go along with it, it will destroy the party. A third of the Republicans will leave the party,” he told host Laura Ingraham.
Trump was impeached by the House on Wednesday after being charged with “incitement of insurrection” following the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol that left five people dead.
Ten House Republicans joined Democrats to vote for Trump’s impeachment, making him the first U.S. president in history to be impeached twice.
Trump was impeached on two Ukraine-related articles of impeachment in the House in December 2019 but was later acquitted by the Republican-led Senate.
Convicting Trump in the Senate requires a two-thirds vote, or 67 senators. The Senate will be split 50-50, with Democrats and the two independents who caucus with them having a tiebreaker in Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
Trump has said he will not attend the inauguration and is expected to leave Washington, D.C., before the event begins.
Watch Paul’s interview below.