Paul’s proposal was struck down by a 55–45 vote, with five Republicans joining all Democrats, meaning 45 Republicans voted for Paul’s effort. Republican Censor. Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Pat Tomi of Pennsylvania crossed party lines to vote with Democrats.
To convict Trump in his trial, at least 17 Republicans will need to vote with all Democrats when the trial begins next month. Significantly, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell sided with Paul in the vote – a possible indicator that he acknowledged the constitutionality of impeachment over the former president.
Paul, a Kentucky Republican, told reporters earlier in the day, “I think that would be enough (votes) to show that more than a third of the Senate people think the entire proceeding is unconstitutional, which would show that eventually they We do not need votes to impeach. ”
The Democratic-led House has already voted to impeach Trump, accusing him of inciting rebellion to attack the Capitol that left many dead. But two-thirds of the Senate members will have to vote to convict Trump after the trial.
The Senate vote effective Tuesday put senators on record as to whether they believe a former president’s test is constitutional. Given the limited language in the constitution on impeachment, legal experts disagree on whether the Senate can convict the former president. But Democrats have pointed to legal scholars on both ends of political circles who say a test is constitutional.
Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin said on Tuesday of the possibility that Paul could force a vote, “he has a treasure trove of very unusual ideas.”
In a floor speech ahead of the vote, Paul said, “I want this body on record, every last person here: is that how you should be politics?”
“Democrats insist on applying a test of inciting a Republican that they refuse to enforce themselves,” he said. “I want Democrats to raise their hands if they ever made a speech that says ‘take back,’ ‘fight for your country,’ who hasn’t used the words?”
He continued, “Are we going to put every politician in jail – are we going to impeach every politician who has used figurative words in a speech? Shame!”
This story has been updated with additional development on Tuesday.