Republican Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) declared Sunday that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) should be impeached if the standard Democrats are applying against former President Donald Trump is applied equally to all politicians in positions of leadership.
What is the background?
Last spring, as the Supreme Court was preparing to hear oral arguments in a monumental case that could have significantly impacted abortion rights in the U.S., Schumer spoke out against Supreme Court Associated Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh using inflammatory language.
"I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price," Schumer said at a pro-abortion rally. "You won't know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions."
In response, Supreme Court Chief Justice spoke out against Schumer in a rare and extraordinary statement, condemning the New York Democrat for "dangerous" rhetoric.
Roberts said, in part:
Justices know that criticism comes with the territory, but threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous. All members of the court will continue to do their job, without fear or favor, from whatever quarter.
What did Paul say?
Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Paul said that if Congress applied Democrats' impeachment standard fairly, Schumer should also be impeached and put on trial by the Senate.
Trump's second impeachment trial begins on Tuesday. The House impeached him last month for "incitement of insurrection," claiming Trump's allegations of a "rigged" or "stolen" election incited the deadly violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
"If we're going to criminalize speech, and somehow impeach everybody who says, 'Go fight to hear your voices heard,' I mean really we ought to impeach Chuck Schumer then," Paul said.
"He went to the Supreme Court, stood in front of the Supreme Court and said specifically, 'Hey Gorsuch, Hey Kavanaugh, you've unleashed a whirlwind. And you're going to pay the price,'" Paul continued. "This inflammatory wording, this violent rhetoric of Chuck Schumer was so bad that the chief justice, who rarely says anything publicly, immediately said this kind of language is dangerous as a mob tried to invade the Supreme Court."
But, Paul continued, Democrats won't hold Schumer or other Democratic lawmakers accountable for their inflammatory rhetoric, citing Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).
"If people want to hold President Trump accountable for language, there has to be a consistent standard and to my mind it's a partisan farce because they're not doing anything to Chuck Schumer, not doing anything to Rep. Omar, not doing anything to Maxine Waters. It's just not fair. It's just partisan politics under a different name," Paul said.
The Kentucky senator went on to predict that Trump's defense team will use the words of Democratic lawmakers against them during Trump's Senate trial.
"If you're going to criminalize his speech, you have to do it with the same standard. You can't just criminalize Republican speech and ignore all the Democrats who have incited violence," Paul said.
"The thing is we can't just have a double standard. Both parties have to be treated the same," he continued. "I think if Democrats had any bit of self-reflection, they would be saying this is a really terrible idea."