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45 GOP senators vote against tabling motion about constitutionality of the impeachment trial

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Forty-five Republican senators on Tuesday, notably including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), voted against tabling Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) effort to deem the forthcoming Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump as unconstitutional, possibly foreshadowing the results of next month’s trial.

While many Republicans claim that it is unconstitutional to hold an impeachment trial once a president has left office, supporters of holding a trial for Trump argue that historical precedent is on their side, often citing the 1876 impeachment of Secretary of War William Belknap after he had resigned from his post.

“45 Senators agreed that this sham of a ‘trial’ is unconstitutional,”

Senator Rand Paul, R-Kentucky

Moreover, while a report this month from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) acknowledged that there are reasonable arguments in favor of both interpretations of the Constitution, which does not explicitly mention if an official can only be impeached while still in office, the CRS report said that “it appears that most scholars who have closely examined the question have concluded that Congress has authority to extend the impeachment process to officials who are no longer in office.”

Tuesday afternoon, Paul raised a point of order to hold a vote regarding the constitutionality of the impeachment trial since Trump is no longer president. However, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) then requested a vote to table it, which senators voted 55-45 in favor of doing. Despite Paul’s point of order being killed, the sheer amount of Republican senators who supported his motion, including McConnell, demonstrates that there may not be as much appetite in the Senate GOP to impeach Trump.

The five Senate Republicans who joined Democrats in voting to table Paul’s point of order were Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Susan Collins (Maine), Ben Sasse (Neb.) Pat Toomey (Pa.), and Mitt Romney (Utah).

“I think there will be enough support on it to show there’s no chance they can impeach the president,” Paul had said earlier in the day. “If 34 people support my resolution that this is an unconstitutional proceeding, it shows they don’t have the votes.”

After his point of order was tabled, Paul claimed that the impeachment trial will be “dead on arrival.”

“45 Senators agreed that this sham of a ‘trial’ is unconstitutional,” Paul tweeted. “That is more than will be needed to acquit and to eventually end this partisan impeachment process. This ‘trial’ is dead on arrival in the Senate.”

In order for the Senate to convict Trump for “incitement of insurrection,” 17 Republicans would need to join all 50 Democrats in order to reach a two-thirds supermajority. If Trump is convicted, he will be barred in the future from serving in public office.

The impeachment trial will begin the week of February 8, and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who is the president pro tempore and the senior-most Senate Democrat, will oversee the trial.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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State officials, CDC investigating monkeypox case in Florida

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with Florida state health officials, are investigating what is believed to be a case of monkeypox. A statement from the Florida Department of Health in Broward County stated the “case is related to international travel, and the person remains isolated.”

Late Friday a New York City resident also tested positive for the virus that causes monkeypox, and is the state’s first confirmed case. On Sunday, President Joe Biden made his first public statements about the outbreaks, saying the recent spread of monkeypox in at least 12 countries are “something that everybody should be concerned about.”

Axios reports a person was confirmed positive with the virus in Massachusetts, New York and “roughly a half dozen other cases” are “being monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

 

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