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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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Boston Celtics Player Legally Changing Name to ‘Enes Kanter Freedom’ to Celebrate U.S. Citizenship

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Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter is celebrating becoming a U.S. citizen in an incredible way. The 29-year-old athlete from Turkey is having his citizenship oath ceremony Monday, and will legally change his name to Enes Kanter Freedom.

Kanter is an outspoken human rights advocate who had his Turkish passport revoked in 2017 after he criticized Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Mediaite reports “he has also criticized NBA stars Michael Jordan and LeBron James for not doing enough to help the Black community and not speaking out against exploitative labor practices in China respectively.”

Celtics head coach Ime Udoka told the Boston Globe the team is “all for” the player’s name change. Kanter’s manager says the player will complete his legal name change to have Kanter become his middle name and Freedom be his new last name at Monday’s ceremony.

“We congratulated him as a group for getting his American citizenship last week,” Udoka said. “That’s who Enes is, we’re proud of him. Enes is who he is. He’s passionate about his stances and the name change; you look at [Ron] Artest [who changed his name to Metta Sandiford-Artest in the middle of the COVID-19 outbreak] and guys that have done it in the past. It’s something he wants to express and we’re all for it.”

Kanter has already changed his official Twitter account to Enes Kanter FREEDOM with his new last name in all caps. Freedom made waves when he tweeted the following on November 18: Money over Morals for the ‘King’. Sad & disgusting how these athletes pretend they care about social justice. They really do ‘shut up & dribble’ when Big Boss [inserted Chinese flag] says so. Did you educate yourself about the slave labor that made your shoes or is that not part of your research?”

The tweet included photos of basketball shoes he wore painted with human rights depictions and phrases such as “hey still researching and getting educated?” as well as “I am informed and educated on the situation.”

The statement is with regard to his criticism of LeBron James’ partnership with Nike. “Nike remains one of the NBA’s biggest sponsors as both organizations feed off their partnerships with China” reports Mediaite. Kanter Freedom also made an offer to take Michael Jordan and Nike co-founder Phil Knight to China in order for the men to “visit these slave labor camps and you can see it with your own eyes.”

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