The Senate voted 56 to 44 on Tuesday to hold a second impeachment trial for former President Donald Trump, rejecting his legal team’s argument that it’s unconstitutional for the Senate to try a former president impeached in his waning days in office. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) “is signaling to fellow Republicans that the final vote on Donald Trump’s impeachment is matter of conscience and that senators who disputed the constitutionality of the trial could still vote to convict the former president,” Bloomberg News reports, citing three people familiar with his thinking.
McConnell, one of the 44 Republicans who voted to dismiss the trial, “has also suggested that he hasn’t made up his mind how he’ll vote,” Bloomberg’s Jennifer Jacobs reports, a “starkly different” position than he held during Trump’s first impeachment trial a year ago, when McConnell did not even pretend he would be an impartial juror.
It probably won’t matter, Politico‘s Playbook team predicts. The “House impeachment managers nailed it,” and “Trump’s attorneys blew it,” but only one Republican, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), was persuaded to switch his vote on the constitutionality of the trial. If Cassidy and the other five Republicans who voted yes Tuesday also vote to convict Trump, that still leaves the Senate 11 votes short of the 67 needed for conviction. And, Politico surmises, “if the compelling presentations of the managers — and shoddy work by Trump’s – weren’t enough to move the GOP senators Tuesday, it’s not going to happen.”