45 Senate Republicans voted to declare Trump's impeachment trial unconstitutional, all but guaranteeing his acquittal
- Forty-five Senate Republicans voted Tuesday to declare Trump's impeachment trial unconstitutional.
- Only five Republican senators voted against the motion.
- The development all but guarantees Trump's eventual acquittal following the trial.
Forty-five Senate Republicans voted to declare former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial unconstitutional on Tuesday, all but securing his eventual acquittal.
The vote came minutes after US senators were sworn in as jurors in the trial, when Kentucky Sen.
"That makes no sense at all," the Yale Law School professor Akhil Reed Amar told NPR, referring to the GOP's argument. "You want to give someone a get-out-of-jail free card at the end of the administration so they can do anything they like and be immune from the high court of impeachment?"Over lunch on Tuesday, the conservative constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley briefed Republicans and argued that holding an impeachment trial for a former official was unconstitutional. But there is precedent for such an act. In 1876, the House impeached Secretary of War William Belknap after he resigned, and the Senate subsequently held a trial.
But there is scant appetite within the Republican caucus to hold an impeachment trial, let alone convict Trump after the House charged him with "incitement of insurrection" related to the deadly
South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds also signaled his position on the impeachment trial, shaking his head when asked if he believed it was constitutional. He also sided with Paul.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, one of Trump's most stalwart defenders in Congress and a leading voice in the charge to overturn the election results in battleground states Trump lost, told Insider before the vote that he believed the question of constitutionality was a "close" one."There's an open question on whether or not a former office holder is subject to impeachment," he said. "There are serious legal scholars on both sides of the question. Constitutional text - there is language that can be read either way. I think it's a close question."
Even so, holding an impeachment trial for Trump is a "mistake," Cruz added.
"President Trump has already left office. We have a new administration," he said. "I think this impeachment trial is petty, it is vindictive, and I think it's time to move on."Cruz voted with most of his caucus to declare the trial unconstitutional.
Support from two-thirds of the Senate is required to convict Trump. Democrats have a bare majority in the chamber - 50 seats plus Vice President Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote - which means at least 17 Republicans would have to break ranks for Trump to be convicted and potentially barred from ever running for public office again.Even if the five Republicans who voted to table Paul's motion on Tuesday also voted to convict Trump, it's unlikely they'd be joined by a dozen of their colleagues who declared the process itself unconstitutional.
Paul said earlier Tuesday that he believed enough Republicans would side with him and "show there's no chance they can impeach the president.""If 34 people support my resolution that this is an unconstitutional proceeding, it shows they don't have the votes and we're basically wasting our time," he said, adding that a trial would be "dead on arrival" if he got more than 34 votes.
- India records 16,752 fresh COVID-19 cases, biggest single-day jump in 30 days
- Indian rocket PSLV puts Brazil's Amazonia-1 satellite into orbit
- Apple Music launches 'Behind The Songs' hub to highlight songwriters and producers
- PSLV rocket lifts off with 19 satellites from Brazil, US and India
- Around 96% people saw drop in their earnings during COVID-19 induced lockdown