WASHINGTON, D.C. (KTAL/KMSS) – Just as Louisiana Republican U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy, M.D. and John Kennedy were on opposite side on whether to confirm all the Electoral College votes in favor of Joe Biden in the November presidential election (Kennedy opposed Arizona’s electoral votes), the two were split Tuesday on the constitutionality of the impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate.
After a full day of hearing arguments from House Managers who are prosecuting the case, along with Trump’s defense attorneys who claim it is unconstitutional to try Trump since he is no longer in office, Kennedy joined 43 other Republican senators in voting that the trial is unconstitutional.
Cassidy, however, was one of six Republicans who joined 50 Democrats in voting in favor of going forward with the second impeachment trial.
The final vote was 56-44 with the majority in favor of trying Trump for what House Managers say was his part in inciting the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection in the nation’s Capital in which five people died, one of whom was a Capitol police officer.
While House Managers showed videos of Trump telling supporters to march on the Capitol to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s election to the presidency, as well as of hundreds of people breeching the Capitol, assaulting Capitol police, and vandalizing the halls and chambers of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, as legislators were forced into hiding for fear of their lives.
Trump’s attorneys invoked the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution and was exercising his rights to free speech as an American, as well as what they claimed was the unconstitutionality of trying a former president.
Following the vote, Cassidy released the following statement after his yes vote on the constitutional jurisdiction to impeach a president no longer in office.
“We heard arguments from both sides on the constitutionality of having a Senate trial of a president who has since left office. A sufficient amount of evidence of constitutionality exists for the Senate to proceed with the trial. This vote is not a prejudgment on the final vote to convict,” Cassidy explained.
“If anyone disagrees with my vote and would like an explanation, I ask them to listen to the arguments presented by the House Managers and former President Trump’s lawyers.
“The House managers had much stronger constitutional arguments. The president’s team did not,” he concluded.
Cassidy was re-elected to his second six-year term in November, while Kennedy’s first will expire in two years.