PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Sen. Mike Rounds on Thursday said he believes the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump is moot, signaling that he wanted the Senate to drop the trial after Democrat Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Rounds, a Republican from South Dakota, told The Associated Press that Trump “tarnished his place in history” by misleading his supporters and encouraging the mob that stormed the Capitol. But Rounds argued the purpose of impeachment is to remove a president, and since Trump will soon leave office, the impeachment trial may not be allowed by the Constitution.
Rounds called a vote to convict Trump “hypothetical,” saying he would rather see the Senate focus on confirming members of Biden’s cabinet.
“I think if the question is moot, I don’t see a reason to convict,” he said.
Prior to Congress’ meeting last week to count electoral votes, Rounds said he had not made up his mind on whether to object. He did not join those who objected, saying they provided no evidence of widespread election fraud.
“For the president to continue to tell people — good, honest hard-working Americans — that their votes didn’t count and they were stolen, that’s wrong,” he said.
Rounds said he hopes Trump’s political career is over.