The 100 member US Senate voted 56-44 to proceed with Donald Trump's historic second impeachment trial Tuesday, defeating an attempt by the former President's defense team to halt the trial because he is no longer in office.
The 56-44 vote was on the question of whether the Senate has jurisdiction to proceed with the trial. It came after a total of four hours of initial arguments by both sides.
The six Republicans who joined with the Democrats on voting to continue the trial were Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, reports Fox News.
Cassidy changed his vote from January when he was among the 45 Republicans who supported a motion by Senator Rand Paul, that declared the trial unconstitutional. Cassidy said he was persuaded by the House impeachment managers' arguments on Tuesday.
"If anyone disagrees with my vote and would like an explanation, I ask them to listen to the arguments presented by the House Managers and former President Trump’s lawyers," Cassidy said in a statement. "The House managers had much stronger constitutional arguments. The president’s team did not."
Dominating Day One was a 13 minute patchwork of video clips of the 6 January insurrection. It began with Trump whipping up a crowd to march to the Capitol and acefight like hell" against the election results and transitioned to visuals of Trump supporters smashing glass, breaking doors, slamming police officers and a woman getting shot.
Trump's defense team focused all its energy on the question of constitutionality, while Democrats pointed to the grisly videos and declared "If that's not an impeachable offense, then there's no such thing".
Trump is the first US president to face impeachment charges after leaving office and the only one to be impeached twice.
(With inputs from IANS)
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