Forty-five Republican senators voted in favor of a motion introduced by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Tuesday to dismiss the impeachment article against former President Donald Trump as unconstitutional.
Senate rejects Sen. Paul's motion to declare fmr. Pres. Trump's impeachment trial unconstitutional, in 55-45 vote. The 5 Republicans senators who voted with Democrats to proceed with the trial were Sens. Collins, Murkowski, Romney, Sasse, and Toomey, @GarrettHaake reports. pic.twitter.com/Lqpmo9VWjr
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) January 26, 2021
The point of order, which was defeated 55-45, argued that the Senate does not have the constitutional authority to try a president after he has left office.
The House on Monday delivered to the Senate one article of impeachment against Trump for allegedly “encourag[ing]…imminent lawless action at the Capitol” after a mob breached and vandalized the Capitol on Jan. 6 after his rally.
Among those who voted in favor of Paul’s motion was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who at first reportedly expressed support for Trump’s impeachment to colleagues.
Though the motion was not upheld, it suggests that the Senate will not have the requisite 67-vote supermajority to convict Trump in a second impeachment trial, in which 17 Republicans would have to vote with the Democrats.
The only five Republicans senators who voted to proceed with the trial were Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
“The Senate just voted on my constitutional point of order,” Paul tweeted shortly after the vote. “45 Senators agreed that this sham of a ‘trial’ is unconstitutional. That is more than will be needed to acquit and to eventually end this partisan impeachment process. This ‘trial’ is dead on arrival in the Senate.”
The Senate just voted on my constitutional point of order.
45 Senators agreed that this sham of a “trial” is unconstitutional.
That is more than will be needed to acquit and to eventually end this partisan impeachment process.
This “trial” is dead on arrival in the Senate.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) January 26, 2021
Paul earlier gave a speech on the Senate floor excoriating the second impeachment push against Trump, pointing out that Chief Justice John Roberts does not plan to preside over a second trial because the Constitution requires him to do so only when the president is being tried.
“The Chief Justice’s absence demonstrates that this is not a trial as a president, but of a private citizen,” said Paul. “Therefore I make a point of order, that this proceeding, which would try a private citizen and not a president, a vice president, or civil officer violates the Constitution, and is not in order.”
Sen. @RandPaul submits Point of Order saying trial is unconstitutional. @SenSchumer: "The senate has the power to try former officials."
Full video here: https://t.co/4i3G466kXQ pic.twitter.com/gmg6ye74zj
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 26, 2021
Paul also blasted the Democrats for continuing to stoke division among Americans, especially when President Joe Biden is now calling for unity. “Hyper-partisan Democrats are about to drag our great country down into the gutter of rancor and vitriol the likes of which has never been seen in our nation’s history. Instead of doing the nation’s work with their new majorities in the House, the Senate, and the executive branch, Democrats are wasting the nation’s time on a partisan vendetta against a man no longer in office.”
“It’s almost as if they have no ability to exist except in opposition to Donald Trump,” Paul added. “Without him as their boogeyman, they might have to legislate and to actually convince Americans that their policy prescriptions are the right ones.”
"Democrats are about to drag our great country down into the gutter of rancor and vitriol the likes of which has never been seen in our nation’s history… It’s almost as if they have no ability to exist except in opposition to Donald Trump." pic.twitter.com/kiCimV0GIX
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) January 26, 2021
Related: Dem Senator, Not Roberts, To Preside Over Trump’s Impeachment Trial