Dem Senator Set to Preside Over Impeachment Trial Suffers Health Scare
Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who is scheduled to preside over the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump next month, was hospitalized briefly Tuesday.
Leahy, who is 80, was not feeling well during the evening, his office said in a statement.
“The Capitol Physician suggested that Senator Leahy go to George Washington University Hospital this evening for observation, out of an abundance of caution,” Leahy spokesman David Carle said late Tuesday, according to Fox News.
“After getting test results back, and after a thorough examination, Senator Leahy now is home. He looks forward to getting back to work. Patrick and Marcelle deeply appreciate the well wishes they have received tonight,” he said.
In terms of presidential succession, Leahy is third in line after Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is also 80.
The announcement that Leahy would preside over Trump’s trial came Monday.
“It was up to John Roberts whether he wanted to preside with a president who is no longer sitting, Trump, and he doesn’t want to do it,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on MSNBC.
However, Leahy said there is nothing unusual in having him preside.
“The president pro tempore has historically presided over Senate impeachment trials of non-presidents. When presiding over an impeachment trial, the president pro tempore takes an additional special oath to do impartial justice according to the Constitution and the laws,” Leahy said Monday. “It is an oath that I take extraordinarily seriously.”
“I consider holding the office of the president pro tempore and the responsibilities that come with it to be one of the highest honors and most serious responsibilities of my career. When I preside over the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, I will not waver from my constitutional and sworn obligations to administer the trial with fairness, in accordance with the Constitution and the laws,” he added.
Fairness could require Leahy to distance himself from his recently published comments about the president.
In the aftermath of the Capitol incursion, Leahy called Trump “a threat to our constitutional republic.”
In a statement about the incursion, he said that the “President of the United States encouraged his supporters to commit these felonies.”
After the House passed its article of impeachment against Trump, Leahy called the former president “the greatest threat to the Constitution and to American democracy in a generation.”
Claiming that the incursion represented a “dark undercurrent of insurrection fueled and exploited by the President,” Leahy called upon Republicans to join Democrats “in voting to convict President Trump and to prevent him from holding future office.”
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts had no public comment about his non-participation in the trial, according to Bloomberg Law.
The trial will take place beginning Feb. 9. A Senate vote Tuesday on a procedural point of order raised by Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky showed that 45 senators were willing to go on the record to call for the trial not to be held.
Although even before the vote it was expected that Democrats would not be able to get 17 Republican senators to join them and convict Trump, the vote has increased the apparent likelihood that Trump will not be convicted.
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