GSI President Jonathan Granoff in The Hill:
On the divisive question of President Donald Trump’s Senate trial and whether it should or shouldn’t lead to his removal from office, it is important to remember something we risk forgetting: the oaths that senators take.
Americans generally understand that every senator swears to uphold the Constitution, which states, “The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” (Article II, Section 4). Determining if such abuses of office took place are among the weightiest decisions senators make.
But what’s much less well known is that to try an impeachment, every senator must also take a second oath of impartiality. The Constitution stipulates that senators, when sitting on a trial of impeachment, “shall be on Oath or Affirmation” (Article III, section 3, clause 6). That oath is more specific than the general one to uphold the Constitution. Rule XXV of the Senate Rules in Impeachment Trials provides the text: “I solemnly swear (or affirm) that in all things appertaining to the trial of [in this case, Donald J. Trump] now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help me God.”
Jonathan Granoff is the President of the Global Security Institute, a representative to United Nations of the World Summits of Nobel Peace Laureates, a former Adjunct Professor of International Law at Widener University School of Law, and Senior Advisor to the Committee on National Security American Bar Association International Law Section.