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Shelby, Tuberville vote to declare Trump impeachment trial unconstitutional

Only five Senate Republicans voted against the motion.

Then-President Donald Trump at the White House.

The Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump appears to have little chance of conviction after only five Senate Republicans voted against a motion by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, to dismiss the trial as unconstitutional. Both Alabama senators, Richard Shelby and Tommy Tuberville, voted in favor of Paul’s motion to dismiss.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, on Jan. 13 announced that he was open to voting to convict Trump for inciting an insurrection, but he supported Paul’s resolution to dismiss the case against Trump. Paul argues that the powers of the executive, legislative and judicial branches are clearly defined in the Constitution.

Impeachment of elected officials is a power delegated to Congress. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that a private citizen can be put on trial in the Senate. Paul’s argument is that the moment that Trump left office, the Senate lost their ability to sit in judgment of him and if there is any case against the former president, then that matter should be decided by the judicial branch. Shelby and Tuberville agreed.

The Democratic majority and five Republicans disagreed, so the trial will go on, but it takes 67 to convict and since 45 of the 100 Senators are now on the record saying that the Senate has no constitutional authority to act, the trial seems doomed as pointless.

“Just do the math,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, one of five Republicans to oppose Paul’s motion, to reporters after the vote.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will not preside over the trial. Roberts did preside over Trump’s Jan. 2020 impeachment trial. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, the senior Senate Democrat will instead preside over the trial.

Senate Republicans voted on Paul’s motion following a presentation from George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, who is an outspoken critic of the Democratic impeachment effort against the former president.

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Collins was joined by Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Mitt Romney of Utah and Ben Sasse of Nebraska in opposing Paul’s motion.

The apparent failure of Trump’s second impeachment trial to get a conviction, this time before it even began, was applauded by Trump loyalists.

“I applaud Senator Rand Paul for his efforts to stop the unconstitutional Senate trial to impeach a private citizen,” said Republican insider and former state Rep. Perry Hooper Jr. “Forty-four Republicans agreed with the Senator that this sham effort lead by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schemer is not allowed under the Constitution and signals that once again President Donald J Trump will be acquitted. Chief Justice John Roberts has refused to take part in this witch hunt leaving Senator Patrick Leahy to be both Judge and a member of the ‘jury.’ I cannot think of anything more un-American.”

“Even Hillary Clinton’s former running mate, Senator Tim Kaine, told reporters Monday that the second impeachment of former President Donald Trump is not the right prioritization of our time,” Hooper concluded. “Once again, the Democrats and five Rino Republicans care more about their petty interests than doing the right thing for the American People.”

Trump is the first president in American history to be impeached twice. No president has ever been convicted of anything by the U.S. Senate.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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