US Democrats’ efforts to convict Donald Trump at his impeachment trial suffered a fresh blow Tuesday when almost all Republicans 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, 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 afterwards “that 45 Senators agreed that this sham of a ‘trial’ is unconstitutional… This ‘trial’ is dead on arrival in the Senate.”
The House of Representatives presented a single article of impeachment to the Senate on Monday accusing Trump of inciting the storming of the Capitol earlier this month, setting in motion the first-ever impeachment trial of a former president.
The trial of Trump, who was impeached by the Democratic-majority House for an unprecedented second time, is to begin in the week of February 8.