Senator Ron Johnson Tells Joe Biden To Choose Trump's Impeachment Trial or His Cabinet

Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) has suggested that the Senate may not confirm President Joe Biden's cabinet nominees if Democrats proceed with an impeachment trial for former President Donald Trump.

Biden's cabinet picks need to be confirmed by the Senate. Trump is due to stand trial before the body following his impeachment by the House of Representatives in the wake of the deadly Capitol riot.

"Democrats can't have it both ways: an unconstitutional impeachment trial & Senate confirmation of the Biden admin's national security team," Johnson tweeted on Thursday.

"They need to choose between being vindictive or staffing the administration to keep the nation safe. What will it be: revenge or security?

"I believe an impeachment trial of a former president is unconstitutional and would set a very dangerous precedent.

"There is no provision in the Constitution for holding such a trial over a former president who is now a private citizen. Where would we get the authority to do so?"

Democrats can’t have it both ways: an unconstitutional impeachment trial & Senate confirmation of the Biden admin’s national security team. They need to choose between being vindictive or staffing the administration to keep the nation safe. What will it be: revenge or security?

— Senator Ron Johnson (@SenRonJohnson) January 21, 2021

Johnson's claim that trying an impeached former president would be unconstitutional is disputed. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is expected to send the article of impeachment to the Senate soon, triggering the trial process.

"On 1/6 Congress decided it was not wise to disenfranchise voters and overrule the state certification of their electors. Why would we now think it's right to preemptively disenfranchise voters and overrule the states? It makes no sense," Johnson went on.

Johnson appears to be referring to the possibility that Trump could be legally barred from running for federal office again if he's convicted in the Senate. A 2024 Trump run had been floated before the events at the Capitol on January 6.

"If President Biden is sincere in his call for unity, he will tell @speakerpelosi not to send her impeachment article to the Senate, and tell @senschumer to choose national security over vindictiveness," Johnson said.

Biden has no legal authority to prevent Pelosi from sending the impeachment article but he could exercise political pressure if he chooses. So far there is little indication he will.

Johnson's threat seems to ring hollow, however, since the Senate is now divided 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats, while Vice President Kamala Harris would break any deadlock between them.

The Senate confirmed Biden's first cabinet nominee on Thursday. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines was approved by a vote of 84 to 10 on the new president's first full day in office.

It's not unusual for cabinet picks to be confirmed on a president's first day but Biden's choices are being approved less quickly than his predecessors. Some of his nominees may prove more controversial than Haines.

The White House and Senator Ron Johnson have been asked for comment on this article.

Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin
Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) questions Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz during a Senate Committee On Homeland Security And Governmental Affairs hearing at the US Capitol on December 18, 2019 in Washington, DC. Johnson has called on President Joe Biden to tell Speaker Nancy Pelosi not to insist on an impeachment trial for former President Donald Trump. Samuel Corum/Getty Images