Democrats were setting a precedent by impeaching Donald Trump as a private citizen and, if that happened, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would also stand an impeachment trial, the former president's lawyer said. Lawyer Michael van der Veen's comment came as a response to Sen. Marco Rubio during Trump's impeachment trial on Friday.
"This could happen to ... the former secretary of state," Van der Veen said. "It could happen to a lot of people. That's not the way this is supposed to work."
Rubio asked Van der Veen if Trump's impeachment "would create a new precedent" for other ex-officials such Clinton — whose impeachment would mean she would not be qualified from holding any office.
"Is it not true that under this new precedent, facing calls to 'lock her up,' a future House could impeach a former Secretary of State and potentially disqualify her from any future office?" Rubio asked.
"If you see it their way, yes," Van der Veen said, referring to the House impeachment managers.
However, Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, who is the lead impeachment manager, dismissed the lawyer's statement saying the hypothetical question "has no bearing on this case."
"This official was not impeached in office for conduct while in office," Van der Veen said, referring to Clinton.
Van der Veen also stated that the phrase, "fight like hell," which Trump used to encourage his supporters ahead of the violent insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, was used by Democrats on multiple occasions. He produced several clips of Democratic leaders — including President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — who used similar language. He also labelled the impeachment trial against Trump as a "shameful effort."
"History will record this shameful effort as a deliberate attempt by the Democrat Party to smear, sensor and cancel, not just President Trump – but the 75 million who voted for him," Van der Veen said.
On Jan. 13, Trump became the first American president to be impeached twice. Democrats have accused the former president of inciting the deadly Capitol insurrection. If impeached, he will be disqualified from holding office again.
The Senate needs 67 votes to impeach Trump. Since Republicans and Democrats control 50 seats each in the Senate, at least 17 Republican votes — in addition with the existing 50 Democrat votes — will be needed to convict the former president.