The Senate has voted Tuesday to continue with the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump after hearing almost four hours of arguments on the constitutional nature of trying a president who is out of office.
The vote count was 56 to 44.
The six GOP members who broke ranks with their party to join with Democrats in support of continuing with the impeachment trial were Senators Lisa Murkowski (AK), Bill Cassidy (LA), Susan Collins (ME), Ben Sasse (NE), Pat Toomey (PA) and Mitt Romney (UT).
Cassidy altered his vote from his January opinion that the trial was unconstitutional. Cassidy claimed he was persuaded by Democrats’ arguments made on Tuesday.
“If someone disagrees and wants an explanation, I ask them to watch the arguments presented by the House Managers and Trump’s lawyers,” Cassidy said. “The House managers had the much stronger constitutional arguments. Trump’s team did not.”
Trump’s team said the trial is not constitutional due to him no longer being in office.
“President Donald Trump is not in office. The goal of the Constitution is already achieved. He was removed by voters,” Bruce Castor, an attorney from Trump said.
Another of Trump’s lawyers, David Schoen, said impeachment is pointless.
“Presidents are impeachable because they are removable,” Schoen stated. “Presidents not in office cannot be removed.”
Democrats in the house said there was a precedent for impeachment of someone who is not in office, and that it is the ethical way to hold presidents accountable.
They brought up the 1876 case against William Belknap, President Ulysses Grant’s war secretary, who was impeached after leaving office.
The House prosecutors claimed the Constitution applies to every moment a president is in power, and Trump’s behavior as president should not be ignored even after leaving office.
“History does not back the idea of a January exception,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., stated. “So why would we invent one now?”
The trial will continue on Wednesday.