45 Republicans Vote To Declare Trump’s Impeachment Trial Unconstitutional
More than 40 Republican senators have voted to declare Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial unconstitutional.
The 45 votes mean it is highly likely Trump will eventually be acquitted.
Senator Rand Paul raised a motion to rule Trump’s impeachment trial unconstitutional because he is no longer in office. The motion ultimately failed, with 55 senators voting against it.
Just five Republican senators – Susan Collins, Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, Lisa Murkowski and Pat Toomey – voted against the motion.
While former senate majority leader Mitch McConnell previously refused to say how he would vote in the impeachment trial, he notably came out in favour of Paul’s motion.
Paul said Democrats were ‘deranged by their hatred’ of the former President.
‘If we are going to put every politician in jail, are we going to impeach every politician who has used the words ‘fight’ figuratively in a speech? Shame,’ he said.
While many Republicans have pushed the defence that the impeachment trial should be scrapped because Trump has already left the White House, some lawmakers believe this would simply allow him to escape accountability.
Akhil Reed Amar, a professor at the Yale Law School, told NPR the Republican argument ‘makes no sense at all’.
‘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?’ Amar said.
For Trump to be convicted, his impeachment must be supported by two-thirds of the Senate. While Democrats now have a majority in the chamber, at least 17 Republicans would have to vote for his impeachment for Trump to be convicted.
This would require support from at least 12 senators who have now stated that they believe the trial is unconstitutional.
Ahead of the vote, Paul told Insider that he believes enough Republicans would vote to ‘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.
Senator Ted Cruz, one of Trump’s most staunch supporters in recent years, said the question of whether or not the trial is unconstitutional is a ‘close one’. However, he said he believes the impeachment is a ‘mistake’.
‘President Trump has already left office. We have a new administration. I think this impeachment trial is petty, it is vindictive, and I think it’s time to move on,’ he added.
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