Senator Leahy Released From Hospital: Impeachment Update
(Bloomberg) -- Senator Patrick Leahy, who is presiding over the impeachment trial, has been released from a Washington hospital. Democratic Senator Tim Kaine had floated the idea of censuring former President Donald Trump. The Senate rejected a move to declare the trial unconstitutional because Trump is no longer in office. The U.S. House’s single article of impeachment against Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol was delivered Monday.
Senator Leahy Released From Hospital (9 p.m.)
Senator Patrick Leahy, who as president pro tempore of the Senate is presiding over the trial, underwent tests at a Washington hospital on Tuesday night after feeling unwell, a spokesman said.
“After getting test results back, and after a thorough examination, Senator Leahy now is home,” the spokesman, David Carle, said in a statement. “He looks forward to getting back to work.”
Carle said that the Capitol physician had suggested that Leahy, 80, go to George Washington University Hospital. He didn’t provide further details.
Leahy is the longest-serving sitting senator, having been first elected in 1974 after the Watergate scandal. He became president pro tempore last week and, earlier Tuesday, swore in senators as jurors for the trial, the main part of which will begin the week of Feb. 8.
On Monday, he pledged that his rulings would be fair. “I don’t think there’s any senator who over the 40-plus years I’ve been here that would say that I’ve been anything but impartial in ruling on procedure,” he told reporters. -- John Harney
Democrat Floats Censuring Trump in Senate (8:05 p.m.)
Democratic Senator Tim Kaine has been discussing with colleagues a possible resolution censuring former President Donald Trump over his role in stoking the mob that stormed the Capitol, according to a person familiar with the discussions.
Such a rebuke wouldn’t carry a direct penalty for the former president but would have some political consequence if he seeks office again and further tarnish his legacy. Democrats in the House have also discussed a censure resolution.
Trump faces a Senate trial on a single article accusing him of incitement of insurrection. But a procedural vote in the Senate on Tuesday indicated that few Republicans are likely to vote for his conviction, leaving the Senate well short of the two-thirds majority required. -- Laura Litvan
Democratic Senator Leahy Taken to Hospital (7:10 p.m.)
Senator Patrick Leahy, who as president pro tempore of the Senate is presiding over the trial, has been taken to a Washington-area hospital, a spokesman said on Tuesday evening.
Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, “was in his Capitol office and was not feeling well,” according to a statement from the spokesman, David Carle. “Out of an abundance of caution, the attending physician recommended that he be taken to a local hospital for observation.” Carle did not provide further details.
Leahy, 80, is the longest-serving sitting senator, having been first elected in 1974, after the Watergate scandal. He became president pro tempore last week and, earlier Tuesday, swore in senators as jurors for the trial, the main part of which will begin the week of Feb. 8.
The Constitution calls for the chief justice to preside over impeachments of presidents. But Trump is no longer president, so Chief Justice John Roberts won’t be filling that role as he did in Trump’s first impeachment trial. -- John Harney
Senate Rejects Move to Stop Trump’s Trial (3:25 p.m.)
The Senate rejected a move by Republican Senator Rand Paul to declare Trump’s impeachment trial unconstitutional because he is no longer in office.
Paul’s point of order was tabled on a vote of 55-45, a rough proxy for how many Republicans might vote to acquit Trump on a single article of impeachment charging him with inciting an insurrection.
Not all of the five Republicans who voted to table the motion would necessarily vote for Trump’s conviction, which would require 17 Republican votes in the evenly divided Senate to reach the two-thirds threshold.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said history and precedent “are clear” that the Senate can try a president or other official who has left office. -- Laura Litvan and Steven T. Dennis
Senators Sworn In as Jurors for Trump Trial (2:50 p.m.)
Senate President Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy administered the oath swearing in his Senate colleagues as jurors for Trump’s impeachment trial.
Leahy, the most senior Senate Democrat, will preside over the trial, the main part of which will begin the week of Feb. 8 after House prosecutors and Trump’s defense team file briefs.
The Senate will then consider an attempt by Republican Senator Rand Paul to force a vote on whether it is constitutional to try a president who no longer is in office. -- Laura Litvan
Senators to Vote Whether Trial Is Constitutional
GOP Senator John Barrasso, a member of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s leadership team, said the Senate will hold a Republican-backed vote Tuesday on whether it’s constitutional to hold an impeachment trial of a former president.
“There will be a vote today on the floor of the Senate in terms of whether this should even move forward,” the Wyoming lawmaker said Tuesday morning on “The Hugh Hewitt Show.”
A notice to senators from Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin early Tuesday morning said Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, has reserved floor time to debate the matter and that he could force a vote on a “point of order” shortly after senators are sworn in as jurors in Trump’s impeachment trial at 2:30 p.m. Such a vote would almost certainly fail but would be an early test of Republican sentiment.
Barrasso also said that Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University professor who has taken the position that you can’t try a president who’s out of office, will speak on a caucus call with all Republican senators immediately before the swearing in. McConnell, who hasn’t said yet whether he would convict or acquit Trump, leads those calls. -- Laura Litvan and Daniel Flatley
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