President Donald Trump’s chances of a Senate acquittal rose on Tuesday after all but five Republicans voted on a bill saying that it was unconstitutional to try a former president, The New York Times reports.
The Senate voted 55-45 to defeat the bill but every Republican except Sens. Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Pat Toomey voted against tabling the measure, which was introduced by Sen. Rand Paul.
The five Republicans are the most likely to back Trump’s conviction at the trial but it would require 67 votes to convict.
“Private citizens don’t get impeached. Impeachment is for removal from office, and the accused here has already left office,” Paul said.
“Forty-five votes means the impeachment trial is dead on arrival,” he later added.
“My review of it has led me to conclude it is constitutional in recognizing impeachment is not solely about removing a president, it is also a matter of political consequence,” said Murkowski.
Schumer presses ahead:
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that the trial will go forward despite an apparent lack of votes to convict.
"Only five Republican senators were willing to take a principled stand against this reckless and ill-advised effort by members of this body who are eager to excuse President Trump's campaign to overturn the election and apparently to excuse his incitement of the mob that every one of us experienced in this Capitol," Schumer said.
"I would simply say to all of my colleagues, make no mistake, there will be a trial, and the evidence against the former president will be presented in living color for the nation and every one of us to see once again,” he added.
Talk of censure:
Sens. Susan Collins and Tim Kaine have also discussed a bipartisan measure to censure Trump instead.
Some Democrats said they may back the measure if at least 10 Republicans sign on, according to Axios.
It’s unclear if the censure is intended to be in lieu of a trial or a potential measure afterward.
"I think it's pretty obvious from the vote today, that it is extraordinarily unlikely that the president will be convicted. Just do the math," Collins said.