The impeachment trial of former President Trump for inciting a riot in the U.S. Capitol will go forward, even after all but five Republican senators voted Tuesday that it was unconstitutional. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) attempted to dismiss the trial, arguing that it was unconstitutional, as Trump was no longer in office. However—as Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) pointed out—the Senate has tried former federal officials after they were no longer in office. Every Democrat voted against Paul’s measure, along with five Republicans: Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Pat Toomey (R-PA). Seventeen Republican senators will need to defect in order to reach the two-thirds majority necessary to convict Trump—but Tuesday’s vote makes a future conviction of Trump all the more unlikely.
One Republican senator who voted that the trial was unconstitutional—Rob Portman of Ohio, who announced earlier this week he wouldn’t be running for re-election in 2022—told NBC that he had “not made my mind up” on his final vote. A conviction would allow the Senate to disqualify Trump from running again in 2024.