Senate votes Trump impeachment trial is constitutional
Six Republicans join all 50 Democrats in vote; FOX News congressional correspondent Chad Pergram has the details
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., drew the ire of his state’s Republican Party after he voted in favor of the Senate being constitutionally allowed to hear the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.
Cassidy was one of six Republicans who supported moving forward with the trial, even though he voted against it when Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., brought a motion on the issue to the Senate last week.
“The Republican Party of Louisiana is profoundly disappointed by Senate Bill Cassidy’s vote on the constitutionality of the impeachment trial now underway against former President, now private citizen, Donald J. Trump,” the Louisiana GOP said in a statement following Tuesday’s vote. “We feel that an impeachment trial of a private citizen is not only an unconstitutional act, but also an attack on the very foundation of American democracy, which will have far reaching and unforeseen consequences for our republic.”
Cassidy explained his vote, saying that the Democratic House managers presented a strong case for the constitutionality of the trial, while making it clear that his vote is not indicative of how he will vote in the trial itself.
“We heard arguments from both sides on the constitutionality of having a Senate trial of a president who has since left office. A sufficient amount of evidence of constitutionality exists for the Senate to proceed with the trial. This vote is not a prejudgment on the final vote to convict,” Cassidy said in a statement. “If anyone disagrees with my vote and would like an explanation, I ask them to listen to the arguments presented by the House Managers and former President Trump’s lawyers. The House managers had much stronger constitutional arguments. The president’s team did not.”
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., speaks during a confirmation hearing for Secretary of Veterans Affairs nominee Denis McDonough before the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Washington. (Sarah Silbiger/Pool via AP)
((Sarah Silbiger/Pool via AP))
Even after his vote on Paul’s motion against holding the trial, Cassidy explained that he did not have time to fully examine the issue beforehand.
TRUMP’S IMPEACHMENT TRIAL: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
“I think it’s important to understand the nature of that vote. It was called two hours before it. There was no debate and no explanation from either side,” Cassidy told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “It was a vote in a moment of time. And so, based upon what senators knew at that point and felt at that point, they then voted. But we will now have, hopefully, presentations from both sides, and we will consider the evidence as impartial jurors.”
The other Republicans who sided with Democrats were Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
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Even with Cassidy, the 56 votes in favor of holding the trial are still far off from the 67 required to convict Trump.
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser, Tyler Olson and Marisa Schultz contributed to this report.
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