Senate votes trial constitutional; six Republicans vote 'yes'

The Senate rejected an attempt on Tuesday to derail former President TrumpDonald TrumpGuardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa wins GOP primary in NYC mayor's race Garland dismisses broad review of politicization of DOJ under Trump Schumer vows next steps after 'ridiculous,' 'awful' GOP election bill filibuster MORE’s impeachment trial by getting it declared unconstitutional. 

Senators voted 56-44 that the trial is constitutional. The vote required only a simple majority.

Six GOP senators joined with Democrats to say they believe the trial is constitutional, largely mirroring a similar vote from late last month. 


Only Sen. Bill CassidyBill CassidyPortman: Republicans are 'absolutely' committed to bipartisan infrastructure bill Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle MORE (R-La.), who had previously supported an effort by Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulPoll: 58 percent say Fauci should not resign Fauci says he puts 'very little weight in the craziness of condemning me' Senate confirms Biden pick for No. 2 role at Interior MORE (R-Ky.) that would have declared the trial unconstitutional, flipped and said on Tuesday that he believes it is constitutional. 

Despite Cassidy's vote, the result again underscored the uphill battle Democrats face to get the 17 GOP senators needed to convict Trump.

Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate to vote on elections bill Congress barrels toward debt cliff Excellence Act will expand mental health and substance use treatment access to millions MORE (R-Mo.), a member of GOP leadership who voted to say it was unconstitutional, predicted that it was a sign of the trial ending in Trump's acquittal. 
"I would think the underlying view of what impeachment is all about would be the determining factor at the end," Blunt said.
Asked if he expected the vote would be similar to the question on acquittal, he added, "I do." 
Even after an effective video and a presentation from the Democratic impeachment managers that received good reviews from Republicans, the majority of GOP senators voted that the trial was unconstitutional.
The presentation from Trump's attorneys, in particular Bruce Castor, drew broad criticism from Senate Republicans, who felt that it missed the mark and was at times hard to follow. 

Cassidy panned the presentation from Trump's team, contrasting it with the House impeachment managers he believes were more effective. 

"I said I'd be an impartial juror. Anyone listening to those arguments — the House managers were focused. They were organized. They relied upon both precedent, the Constitution and legal scholars. They made a compelling reason. President Trump's team was disorganized," Cassidy said. 

He added that "as an impartial juror, I'm going to vote for the side that did the good job."


GOP Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsPelosi quashes reports on Jan. 6 select committee White House advisers huddle with Senate moderates on infrastructure Supreme Court battle could wreak havoc with Biden's 2020 agenda MORE (Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSchumer vows next steps after 'ridiculous,' 'awful' GOP election bill filibuster Murkowski to vote 'no' on voting rights bill White House advisers huddle with Senate moderates on infrastructure MORE (Alaska), Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyOvernight Defense: Joint Chiefs warn against sweeping reform to military justice system | Senate panel plans July briefing on war authorization repeal | National Guard may have 'training issues' if not reimbursed Equilibrium — Presented by NextEra Energy — Flaming shipwreck wreaks havoc on annual sea turtle migration Senate panel plans July briefing on war authorization repeal MORE (Utah), Ben SasseBen SasseGOP senators applaud Biden for global vaccine donation plans Pence: Trump and I may never 'see eye to eye' on events of Jan. 6 White House: Biden will not appoint presidential Jan. 6 commission MORE (Neb.) and Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyBlack women look to build upon gains in coming elections Watch live: GOP senators present new infrastructure proposal Sasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote MORE (Pa.) had previously voted to say the trial was constitutional and voted the same way on Tuesday.

"I thought they did a good job in outlining the Constitutional arguments of both sides. I continue to be persuaded by the weight of the scholarly analysis, which says it's constitutional to carry out a trial after someone's left office," said Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah).

Collins said she was "perplexed" by Castor. She added that the signaling out by Trump's team of Toomey and Sasse—who voted last month to say they thought the trial was constitutional— was "inappropriate."  

House impeachment managers and Trump's team spent hours debating if the trial was constitutional ahead of Tuesday's vote. That's a shift from last month's vote, where Republicans appeared caught off guard that Paul was forcing the issue. 

But senators say the result of the vote was largely already settled after senators had to make a decision last month. 
"I think it played out pretty much as expected. The result of this trial is preordained. President Trump will be acquitted," Cruz said, while calling Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben Raskin House Democrats to Schumer: Vote again on Jan. 6 probe Democrats claim vindication, GOP cries witch hunt as McGahn finally testifies Trump DOJ seized phone records of New York Times reporters MORE (D-Md.), the lead House manager, "impressive." 
"Maybe, I don't know maybe Cassidy’s mind was," he said.