Six Republican senators on Tuesday joined 50 Democrats in voting to proceed with the impeachment trial of former President Donald J. Trump, forming a contingent far smaller than what would be needed to convict Mr. Trump of “incitement of insurrection” related to the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
The six Republicans were Senators Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania.
The vote addressed the constitutional question of whether the Senate has the power to try Mr. Trump even though he has left office.
The result largely mirrored the tally last month, when the Senate voted to kill an attempt to dismiss the trial as unconstitutional. Five Republicans had joined all 50 Democrats in support of going ahead with the trial, though others later said they were still open to hearing the case and described their votes as a call for more debate on the constitutionality of the trial.
But in the end, the lone senator to switch sides was Mr. Cassidy. Speaking to reporters after the vote on Tuesday, he praised the House impeachment managers for their presentation and panned the performance of Mr. Trump’s legal team.
“They did everything they could but to talk about the question at hand,” he said. “And when they talked about it, they kind of glided over it, almost as if they were embarrassed of their arguments.”
He continued, “Now if I’m an impartial juror, and one side is doing a great job and 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.”
Like the vote in January, the one on Tuesday signaled that Mr. Trump was all but certain to be acquitted. Seventeen Republicans would need to join all 50 Democrats to reach the two-thirds threshold for convicting the former president.
Source: NYT > U.S. > Politics