What a great, concise, way to explain what's going on:
The post-presidency impeachment of Donald Trump isn’t a political stunt. It’s a serious effort to subvert democracy, and it’s rooted in the left’s belief that the American people are the greatest threat to America.— Phillip Kline (@PhillDKline) January 26, 2021
Shipwreckedcrew makes what I believe is a sound point about impeachment after a president has left the office of the presidency. I'd been wondering about this, having read short comments by Glenn Reynolds and Ann Althouse, but wasn't totally satisfied. I found the notion of Leahy presiding at an impeachment trial offensive, yet I know that impeachments of judges have been handled by Senate committees, so there seemed to be a precedent. Here is the point that SWC makes, that the impeachment trial of a president is different because the head of one branch of government is at issue with the combined expressed judgments of the two houses of a second branch:
The Constitution says when it is the President being tried, the CJ shall preside. Joe Biden is President and he is not being tried. The reason for having the CJ is because one branch of Govt is seeking to remove the elected head of another branch. https://t.co/puuOEqq9Z9— shipwreckedcrew (@shipwreckedcrew) January 26, 2021
While neither the Constitution nor the Federalist Papers actually go into this reasoning, Federalist Nos. 65-66 seem to me to be in accord with SWC's view. If you read these numbers, it seems clear that Hamilton envisions only a sitting president as subject to impeachment and does not envision anyone other than the Chief Judge of the SCOTUS presiding at a trial. The idea of the Senate holding a trial for the purpose of preventing We The People from electing to office someone of whom the Senate disapproves is repulsive. It also illustrates exactly what Phil Kline is talking about.