The Senate approved to move ahead with former president Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
By a vote of 56 to 44, the Senate rejected arguments by Trump’s defence lawyers, who claimed that holding an impeachment trial of a former president is unconstitutional.
The tally of fifty six senators included six Republicans who favoured to move forward with the trial. But the vote also served as an indication of Trump’s eventual acquittal, since 17 GOP senators would need to vote with Democrats in order to convict him.
Senator Bill Cassidy was among five other GOP senators who had previously voted that the trial is constitutional.
Trump faces one article of impeachment for “incitement of insurrection” for his conduct leading up to the attack on the Capitol on January 6. The House impeached Mr. Trump on January 13, when he was still in office. The Constitution is silent on the question of whether former officials can be impeached and face trial in the Senate.
The first day of proceedings was dedicated to the question of whether the Senate has jurisdiction to try the former president. Trump’s lawyers and the House impeachment managers were given two hours each to present their cases to senators.
The House managers argued that declining to hold the impeachment trial would establish a “January exception” in which outgoing presidents could evade accountability for the actions in the final weeks of their terms.
THE PROCEEDINGS: A new video was shown to the Senators on Wednesday of the day his supporters stormed the US Congress.
The footage showed police engaging in clashes with rioters and desperately pleading for support.
Officers ushered politicians to safety, sometimes within metres of the mob breaking into the chambers.
Using Trump’s own words and tweets, Democrats prosecuting the case argued he had acted as “inciter in chief”.