Republican Senators opposes Trump’s impeachment


US Democrats’ efforts to convict Donald Trump at his impeachment trial suffered a fresh blow Tuesday when almost all Republican senators backed dismissing the case, underlining the former president’s continuing hold over the party.

The motion failed after all 50 Democrats and only five Republicans in the Senate did not support the push to throw out the case before the trial has begun.

The result confirmed Democrats will struggle to persuade 17 Republican senators — the number needed for the required two-thirds majority — to vote to convict Trump.

Rand Paul, a Republican senator from Kentucky, raised a point of order to hold a vote on the constitutionality of the impeachment trial as Trump has left office.

Democrats then called for a vote to kill the point of order, winning 55-45.

Paul said afterward “that 45 Senators agreed that this sham of a ‘trial’ is unconstitutional… This ‘trial’ is dead on arrival in the Senate.”

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Patrick Leahy, the 80-year-old senator presiding over the trial, was briefly hospitalized after Tuesday’s proceedings during which he sounded hoarse and unwell as lawmakers were sworn in as jurors.

“The Attending Physician recommended that he be taken to a local hospital for observation,” his spokesman said. He was released later in the evening.

Leahy, who was elected in 1974, is presiding as he is the senior senator of the party with the majority in the Senate, currently the Democrats.