President Donald Trump getting impeached for outlining qualms about the 2020 election highlights how the legal system is unbalanced, an adviser said Thursday.
“The American people are entitled to state their positions. If it is somehow seditious to do so, then Nancy Pelosi and pretty much every Democrat who said that the election was stolen, which perpetrated the Russia hoax, in 2016, should be charged with that same sedition, because the rules have to be the same for all Americans,” Boris Epshteyn, a Trump campaign adviser, said on “War Room.”
“We cannot have a different legal system for Republicans than Democrats,” he added.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) alleged in 2017 that the 2016 election was “hijacked” as special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed to investigate alleged Russian interference in the election.
Even after Mueller found no evidence of collusion between Trump or his campaign and Russia, Pelosi and other Democrats kept alleging a connection. She said last year that Trump and his campaign “welcomed and relied on a hostile foreign power’s interference in the 2016 election.”
Epshteyn also cited the case of former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe as an example of an allegedly unbalanced legal system. McCabe was fired after an inspector general found he lied multiple times but the Department of Justice ultimately decided not to pursue criminal charges against him.
Trump was impeached on Wednesday for incitement of insurrection. Democrats and 10 Republicans alleged he stoked anger that led to the breaching of the U.S. Capitol. A timeline of Jan. 6 shows the crowd at the building turning unruly before Trump finished speaking at the Ellipse, a 45-minute walk away from the Capitol.
“CNN’s putting out articles saying this was a planned attack, the terrible events at the Capitol were a planned attack. If they were a planned attack, how could they have been incited at the speech? That’s point one,” Epshteyn said.
“Point two, the president said at the speech that people should march ‘peacefully and patriotically’ toward the capitol. There was no incitement of violence whatsoever.”
The timing of when an impeachment trial will commence remains an open question. As of now, it appears it will not start until at least Jan. 19. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he wouldn’t call the Senate back into session to start the trial before then. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), poised to become majority leader later this month after Georgia Democratic Sens.-elect Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock are sworn in, wanted the trial to start this week.
One option for Republicans is to bring forward a motion to dismiss when the Senate returns to session.
“It would put republicans in a place of having to answer, why are you not voting to dismiss. It puts them under the bright lights,” Epshteyn said. “We know it’s just a political tool to try to force President Trump not to run in 2024. How could you not vote to dismiss it?”
Another is to ask a court to weigh in on the constitutionality of trying a president after he’s out of office, something that’s never been done before in U.S. history. Several legal scholars have questioned doing so, including constitutional attorney Alan Dershowitz.
If the trial ends up happening, it would give the Trump team an “opportunity to bring out all of the fraud that we’ve been talking about for weeks, for months,” Epshteyn said.