Trump impeachment deemed constitutional by senate, six Republicans join 50 democrats in vote

WASHINGTON D.C (AP) — Six Republicans joined all 50 Senate Democrats in voting to proceed with the impeachment trial against former President Donald Trump.

WATCH: Trump’s 2nd impeachment trial starts with fight over its legitimacy

Update at 2:30 p.m. PST:

Senators in Donald Trump’s historic second impeachment trial have agreed to consider the case, rejecting an attempt by the former president’s defense team and some Republican allies to halt the trial because he is no longer in office.

The vote was 56-44 on Tuesday on the question of whether the Senate has jurisdiction and could proceed. It came after four hours of arguments from Trump’s lawyers and the Democratic impeachment managers, who are arguing that the former president incited the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.

The impeachment managers managed to pick up one additional vote from Republicans — Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy. Two weeks ago, he voted in favor of an effort to dismiss, but on Tuesday he voted with Democrats to move forward. Cassidy joined Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Mitt Romney of Utah in dismissing the Trump team’s claims.

Cassidy told reporters earlier that the impeachment managers’ arguments were “strong arguments” and it was a “very good opening.”

Cassidy said, “I have always said I was approaching this with an open mind.”

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Update at 1:30 p.m. PST:

A lawyer for Donald Trump is arguing that the former president’s impeachment trial should be dismissed, both because it is unconstitutional and because it will “tear this country apart.”

David Schoen said Tuesday that Democrats are fueled by a “hatred” of Trump and fear that they will lose power. He says if the trial moves forward, it will make “everyone” look bad and other countries that wish the U.S. harm will watch with “glee.”

Trump was impeached on a count of incitement of insurrection over the Jan. 6 Capitol riot by a mob of his supporters. Both sides were debating the trial’s constitutionality on Tuesday, and the debate will be followed by a vote to dismiss the case, which is expected to fail.

Trump’s team is arguing that the trial is not constitutional because Trump is out of office. Democrats, citing legal scholars and precedent from a secretary of war’s 1876 impeachment, have detailed both the historical precedent and the violence of the rioting to argue that it is constitutional.

Trump was impeached one week before he left office and one week after he told his supporters to “fight like hell” before they laid siege on the Capitol. The rioting resulted in five deaths.

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Update at 1:20 p.m. PST:

One of the lawyers heading former President Donald Trump’s defense at his second impeachment trial is conceding that Trump lost the election to Joe Biden, a fact that Trump himself has refused to acknowledge.

In opening remarks Tuesday, lawyer Bruce Castor said: “The American people are smart enough to pick a new administration if they don’t like the old one. And they just did.”

Later, Castor referred to Trump, saying: “He was removed by the voters.”

Trump has repeatedly disputed the results of the election, falsely claiming he won in a “landside.” He kept up the baseless claim during a speech before the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, which set in motion his trial on a charge of incitement of insurrection.

There was no widespread fraud in the election, as has been confirmed by election officials across the country and former Attorney General William Barr. Dozens of legal challenges to the election put forth by Trump and his allies were dismissed.

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