Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) voted in favor of a resolution declaring the impeachment trial of former President Trump “unconstitutional” on Tuesday.
The point of order resolution was put forward by McConnell’s colleague from Kentucky, Rand Paul, and effectively forced Republicans to declare on the record whether they consider the impeachment trial constitutional, given that it’s taking place after Trump has left office. The resolution failed after a majority of senators voted against it, meaning the impeachment trial will go ahead as planned.
However, only five Republicans voted against the resolution: Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. At the close of the impeachment trial itself, at least 17 Republican senators would need to join Democrats in order to convict Trump.
“I think there will be enough support on” the point-of-order resolution “to show there’s no chance they can impeach the president,” Paul told reporters before the vote on Tuesday. “If 34 people support my resolution that this is an unconstitutional proceeding, it shows they don’t have the votes and we’re basically wasting our time.”
UPDATE (FROM GLENN): My take:. The only remedies in impeachment are removal from office and disqualification to hold positions of “trust or profit.” The disqualification vote can’t take place until after the removal, and you can’t “remove” someone from an office they don’t hold. What’s more if you’re impeaching the President the Chief Justice must preside. The Chief Justice isn’t presiding, so this can’t be a presidential impeachment. But if you’re not impeaching a president, and you can’t impeach a private citizen, then there’s no power to impeach Trump.
Shame on Mitt Romney, et al., for throwing the Constitution under the bus to score points.
ANOTHER UPDATE FROM GLENN: Mollie Hemingway: