Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says the upcoming Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump is "dead on arrival," now that 45 of the upper chamber's 50 GOP members are on the record declaring the proceedings unconstitutional.
Some Democrats have indicated that he is right, putting forth alternatives for condemning Trump over allegations that the former president "incited an insurrection" with his actions surrounding the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol building by a pro-Trump mob.
What are the details?
On Tuesday, Paul forced a procedural motion objecting to the impeachment trial on the grounds that Trump is no longer a sitting president, and all but five Republican senators joined him in voting to stop the proceedings.
Paul told Glenn Beck ahead of the move that he knew the trial would move forward, but the actions of Republicans would indicate whether or not there was any chance of conviction in what he has referred to as an "unconstitutional sham."
The Kentucky Republican had hoped to get 40 of his GOP colleagues to join him, and he actually gained a few more than expected.
He told Fox News' Maria Bartiromo the next day, "We had 45 people, 45 Republican senators say that the whole charade is unconstitutional. So, what does that mean? It means ... the trial is dead on arrival."
"There will be a show," Paul acknowledged. "There will be a parade of partisanship, but the Democrats really will not be able to win. They will be able to play a partisan game that they wish to play. But it's all over."
Senator Paul Explains Impeachment Objection - January 26, 2021 www.youtube.com
One Democratic senator appears to recognize that "it's all over," too. The Washington Post reported that Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) is floating to colleagues the "alternative" of censuring Trump, pointing out that the 67 votes needed for a conviction simply aren't there.
"To do a trial knowing you'll get 55 votes at the max seems to me to be not the right prioritization of our time," Kaine told reporters, adding, "The vote on the Paul motion...was completely clarifying that we're not going to get near 67."
Nonetheless, Democratic leadership is pushing forward with the trial. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) declared Wednesday:
"Make no mistake, there will be a trial, and the evidence against the former president will be presented in living color for the nation and every one of us to see once again. We will all watch what happened. We will listen to what happened, and then we will vote. We will pass judgment as our solemn duty under the Constitution demands. And in turn, we will all be judged on how we respond."