South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds (R) spoke out this week to say that President Donald Trump may be criminally prosecuted for inciting the riots at the U.S. Capitol building last week. However, he stopped short of saying that he would support Trump’s impeachment.
“In my opinion, what we had was an insurrection,” he told the Forum News Service. “We had violence. We had people killed. We had a mob that ignored direct commands. They attacked law enforcement officers. They damaged federal property. They clearly intended to stop us from performing our duties in the recognition of the electoral vote count.
“If there are (impeachment) proceedings brought against him (Trump),” he continued, “and even if the article of impeachment is not followed through in the Senate, if the article of impeachment to incitement of a riot or incitement of an insurrection are followed through in a criminal proceeding, that by itself would … stop him (Trump) for running for election to a public office again.”
Rounds went on to say that many of Trump’s supporters were misled by him when it came to his claims of voter fraud in the election.
“When the story of this last 90 days is told, they will clearly lay out that the president of the United States misled very, very good, honest, patriotic Americans by telling them time and again that the election was stolen,” Rounds said. “I believe that history will hold him accountable.”
After the House voted to impeach Trump for a second time on Wednesday, Rounds added that the timing of impeachment for the purpose of removing Trump from office seems “moot.”
“The timing right now with the removal of office being the primary purpose would seem to me to be moot,” Rounds said, adding that he does not think Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will bring the Senate back into session before Trump leaves office next week. This means that an impeachment trial wouldn’t begin until he is out of the White House.