Rejects Republicans’ motion to drop charges
The United States Senate voted 55-45 to reject Senator Rand Paul’s motion seeking dismissal of the impeachment trial against immediate past President Donald Trump.
With this development coming just six days after Democrats Joe Biden was sworn in as President, it means the trial will go ahead as scheduled.
But as Senator Paul hoped, the vote showed Republicans overwhelming support for his attempt to forgo a trial, an indication that there may not be enough support within the GOP conference to convict Trump.
The only Republican senators who voted against the motion, and in favor of holding a trial, were senators who have been consistently vocal in their condemnation of Trump’s conduct on 6 January.
The list include: senators Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
Interestingly, the Republican Senate leader, Mitch McConnell, who angrily declared on the Senate floor that Trump had ‘provoked’ the mob that stormed the Capitol, voted to dismiss the trial.
However, still bent on stopping the trial, Senator Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, has also raised a “point of order” to force a vote in the chamber on whether it is constitutional to impeach a president after he has left office.
According to the lawmaker, he had expected the motion would fail, but believed the vote would show there wasn’t sufficient support to convict Trump.
“I think there will be enough support on it to show there’s no chance they can impeach the president,” he told reporters.
“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.”
At least 17 Republicans would have to join all Democrats to convict Trump. If convicted, the Senate could vote to disqualify him from ever again holding public office. – With The Guardian reports