The Senate on Tuesday affirmed the constitutionality of Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial over the objections of his authorized staff, which contended that transferring ahead with the proceedings can be unconstitutional.
Six Republicans joined each Democrat in voting, 56-44, to maintain the trial. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who voted to dismiss the trial final month, reversed his stance and joined GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Mitt Romney (Utah), Ben Sasse (Neb.), Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) in breaking with the social gathering to maneuver ahead with the trial.
A variety of Republicans had been essential of the Trump staff’s arguments. Still, the consequence bodes poorly for Trump’s final conviction, which can want a two-thirds vote within the Senate.
Bruce Castor, Trump’s lead legal professional, mentioned after the proceedings that he was unconcerned about criticism of his presentation or the truth that a further Republican voted to go forward with the trial.
“I don’t think anything of it,” Castor mentioned. “If it leaks down to 34, then I’ll start to worry.”
The trial opened shortly after midday with a graphic and emotional video proven by House impeachment managers of the assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 that resulted within the deaths of 5 individuals, together with a Capitol Police officer. The 13-minute video montage was spliced with statements from Trump earlier than and throughout the riot urging his supporters to “fight” to overturn the certification of the 2020 election in Congress.
House impeachment managers then argued on behalf of the constitutionality of holding an impeachment trial for a former president. They pointed to earlier Senate trials of former authorities officers and warned that not holding Trump accountable on this case would set a precedent for future presidents to commit excessive crimes and misdemeanors on the very finish of their time period and escape penalties.
“You don’t need to be a constitutional scholar to know the argument President Trump asks you to adopt is not just wrong, it’s dangerous,” Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) mentioned, including: “There is no January exception to the impeachment power, that presidents can’t commit grave offenses in their final days and escape any congressional response.”
Trump lawyer David Schoen, in the meantime, argued that “only a sitting president may be impeached, convicted and removed.”
“Presidents are impeachable because presidents are removable. Former presidents are not,” Schoen added.
But the House impeached Trump whereas he was nonetheless president. Moreover, the Senate within the late nineteenth century held a trial for William W. Belknap, a corrupt Secretary of War, after he had already resigned. Trump’s legal professionals didn’t handle these two factors of their opening arguments on Tuesday.
Scores of constitutional students have sided with the House managers on the query of attempting a former president, together with conservative lawyer Chuck Cooper.
Some Republican senators had been essential of Castor’s presentation particularly, even when most of them in the end voted to dismiss the trial.
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas mentioned the Trump legal professional “just rambled on and on and on and didn’t really address the constitutional argument,” including that his speech was “not one of the finest” he had seen.
Murkowski, one of many six GOP senators who voted to maintain the trial, mentioned she couldn’t work out the place Castor was going. “I don’t think he helped with us better understanding where he was coming from on the constitutionality of this.”
Collins additionally mentioned she was “perplexed” by the presentation.
“It did not seem to make any arguments at all, which was an unusual approach to take,” she added.
But Cassidy gave the impression to be probably the most disenchanted with Trump’s staff. He known as their presentation “disorganized” and mentioned it was “almost like they were embarrassed” to weigh in on the constitutionality of the trial. The Louisiana Republican mentioned the House managers introduced a “compelling” argument and credited them with citing precedent, the Constitution, and authorized students.
“The other side is doing a terrible job on the issue at hand. As an impartial juror, I’m going to vote for the side that did the good job,” Cassidy mentioned.
Cassidy’s vote didn’t sit effectively with the Louisiana Republican Party, which rapidly issued an announcement saying they had been “profoundly disappointed” with the senator.
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