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Almost all Republicans vote to dismiss Trump impeachment trial, suggesting conviction is unlikely

In this image from video, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the president pro tempore of the Senate, who is presiding over the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, swears in members of the Senate for the impeachment trial at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on January 26, 2021.   | Photo Credit: AP

All but five of the U.S. Senate’s 50 Republicans unsuccessfully attempted to block the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump from progressing, in a vote on the constitutionality of impeaching a former President. While Mr. Trump will be tried because 55 of the 100 senators voted to proceed, Tuesday’s vote cast doubt on whether Mr. Trump would be convicted — a move that would need 17 of the Senate’s 50 Republicans to vote along with their Democratic colleagues.

“I think it is pretty obvious from the vote today that is extraordinarily unlikely that the president will be convicted,” said Senator Susan Collins of Maine, one of the five Senators who voted against the motion to declare the trial unconstitutional. Mr. Trump is being tried on charges of inciting an insurrection for his alleged role in inciting violent protestors just before they attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6 resulting in the death of five people.

The other Republicans who voted against the motion questioning the trial’s constitutionality were Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Ben Sasse of Nebraska.

“If you voted that it was unconstitutional, how in the world would you ever vote to convict somebody for this?” said Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who introduced the motion.

Notably, Senate Minority Leader, who had in recent weeks — including when he led the majority in the chamber — entertained the possibility of convicting Mr. Trump, joined his Republican colleagues and voted against taking the trial forward.

Democrats are hoping that the evidence they plan to present during the trial — including videos — will sway more Republicans.

“…There’s no predicting with any certainty what the result will be until we see all of that graphic evidence and it can include the words out of Donald Trump’s own mouth,” Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said. ”That’s the most incriminating, but also other evidence about what he said when he saw those images of the assault on the Capitol and he called those mob rioters ‘special people’…” he said.

While the members of the House of Representatives had delivered their charges to the Senate on Monday and Senators — all of whom will act as jurors — were sworn in, the trial itself is scheduled to commence in the week of February 8.

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Printable version | Mar 1, 2021 4:27:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/almost-all-republicans-vote-to-dismiss-trump-impeachment-trial-suggesting-conviction-is-unlikely/article33675260.ece

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