La. senators split on constitutionality of impeachment trial

Updated: Feb. 9, 2021 at 4:52 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The U.S. Senate voted 56 - 44 that the second impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump is constitutional and Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Republican, was among those voting yes.

Not long before the trial commenced on Capitol Hill, Cassidy spoke to reporters about being a juror in Trump’s second impeachment trial.

“I’m a juror, just like I said in the first impeachment trial. My responsibility is to listen to the evidence before announcing my vote,” said Cassidy.

Cassidy believes the trial began with three important questions.

“Is it constitutional to impeach somebody who is out of office number one; number two even if it’s constitutional, is it the appropriate thing to do? Is it better for our country?” said Cassidy.

Trump is being tried on a single Article of Impeachment passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in January while he was still president.

More: Senate agrees to hear Trump case, graphic video opens trial

Trump is accused of inciting insurrection as Congress was meeting to count the Electoral College’s votes that would have shown Democrat Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election by telling thousands of his supporters to walk to the Capitol building and “show strength.”

For Trump to be convicted, 17 Republicans in the Senate would have to join the 50 Democratic senators in voting to convict Trump.

Professor Stephen Griffin is a Tulane University constitutional expert.

“It may be true that they can’t get a conviction, but I think they’re going to have a hard time making a knock-down case that you can’t do this. It has happened before and it’s not prohibited by the text,” Griffin said.

Dr. Robert Collins is a Dillard University political analyst who worked in the U.S. Senate.

“The only curveball that might come along is if for some reason Mitch McConnell decides to convict. It would be unusual; I don’t expect it. However, if Mitch McConnell were to decide to convict, he would certainly bring some Republican senators along with him,” said Collins.

Louisiana’s other U.S. Senator, John Kennedy, voted against the measure.

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