Senator Rand Paul forced a vote Tuesday to declare the impeachment trial of President Trump unconstitutional now that he is out of office. The motion was rejected on a 55-45 vote.
Paul and multiple other Republican senators have made the argument that it is unconstitutional to impeach a private citizen, exactly what Donald Trump is now that he has left office.
The vote was largely along party lines with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) voting with Paul to declare the impeachment unconstitutional.
Republican senators who joined the Democrats in rejecting the motion include Lisa Murkowski (AK), Susan Collins (ME), Mitt Romney (UT), Pat Toomey (PA), and Ben Sasse (NE).
Even though the motion was rejected, it signals that there will not be enough support in the Senate to convict President Trump as the threshold is a ⅔ majority.
Prior to the vote on Tuesday, Sen. Paul 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.”
The focus of the new session of Congress on impeaching and convicting President Trump has been met with harsh criticism as many Americans are more concerned with recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Historically, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides over the impeachment trial. However, Chief Justice John Roberts is refusing to preside over the current trial. A Senate source told Fox News that president pro tempore of the Senate Patrick Leahy (VT-D) “is expected to preside” over the trial instead.