Jan 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Most Senate Republicans join Rand Paul effort to dismiss Trump's 2nd impeachment trial

Rand Paul

Photo: Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images

Forty-five Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, supported an effort to dismiss former President Trump's second impeachment trial.

Why it matters: The vote serves as a precursor to how senators will approach next month's impeachment trial, making it highly unlikely the Senate will vote to convict. The House impeached Trump for a second time for "incitement of insurrection" following events from Jan 6. when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.

  • Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) raised a point of order on Tuesday afternoon to hold a vote on the constitutionality of the impeachment trial, now that Trump is out of office.
  • Majority Leader Chuck Schumer then asked for a vote to "table" the motion, thus killing Paul's point of order, and that measure passed 55-45.
  • Five Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Mitt Romney (Utah), Ben Sasse (Neb.) and Pat Toomey (Pa.) — joined all Democrats to table Paul's point of order.
  • Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted no, supporting Paul.

What they're saying: Earlier in the day, Paul indicated the vote would show "we're basically wasting our time" by impeaching Trump now that he's out of office.

  • "I think there will be enough support on it 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."
  • 17 Republicans would need to join all Democrats in order to convict Trump.

What's next: Senators, who will serve as jurors during the trial, were sworn in Tuesday but the actual trial begins the week of Feb. 8. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D.-Vt.), the most senior Democrat in the Senate and president pro tempore, will preside over the trial.

The other side: Sen. Mitt Romney, who has been an open critic of Trump, said on CNN's "State of the Union" that he's going to listen to what the lawyers have to say but believes "it's pretty clear the effort is constitutional."

  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski told reporters on Tuesday that her review has led her to believe the trial is constitutional in recognizing that "impeachment is not solely about removing a president, it is also a matter of political consequence."
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