Six Republicans vote to proceed with Trump impeachment

Andrew BuncombeWed, 10 February 2021, 12:01 am

 Bill Cassidy says Democrats made ‘compelling argument’ (Getty Images)
Bill Cassidy says Democrats made ‘compelling argument’ (Getty Images)

Six Republican senators have voted to proceed with Donald Trump’s impeachment – joining with Democrats to argue the Senate does have the constitutional authority to try the former president.

Last month, when Republican Senator Rand Paul sought to throw out the impeachment process, arguing the chamber did not have the authority to proceed, only five of his GOP colleagues disagreed with him.

On Tuesday, as Mr Trump’s trial in the Senate got underway and Democratic members of the House presented evidence against him, an additional Republican, Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, joined them.

The five Republicans who voted last month to let the trial proceed and did so again on Tuesday, were Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaaka, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraksa, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

“I’ve always said I would approach this with an open mind and would listen as an impartial juror to both sides,” Mr Cassidy told CNN before the hearing.

He later told reporters: “The House managers were focused, they were organised … they made a compelling argument. President Trump’s team, they were disorganised, they did everything they could but to talk about the question at hand.”

Democrats need 67 votes to convict Mr Trump, and most observers believe they have little chance of getting even close to that many.

But the element of Republican support did allow Democratic congressman Jamie Raskin, the lead “prosecutor” on Tuesday, to claim it was the “most bipartisan” impeachment in history.

Last January, when the Senate voted on two articles of impeachment the House brought against Mr Trump over his efforts to pressure Ukraine to launch a corruption probe against Mr Biden, just one Republican – Mr Romney – joined Democrats.

That was for the article alleging Mr Trump had committed “abuse of office”.

He voted against the article accusing him of obstructing Congress.