U.S. senators on Tuesday were sworn in for the impeachment trial of former U.S. President Donald Trump -- the only president to have been impeached by the House of Representatives twice, and the first to face a trial after leaving power.
Right off the bat Republican Senator Rand Paul, attempted to halt Trump's upcoming trial on the basis that is it 'unconstitutional' because Trump is no longer president.
"Article 2, section 4 of the Constitution says, the president, vice president and all civil officers of the United States shall be removed from office on impeachment for and conviction of treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors... As of noon last Wednesday, Donald Trump holds none of the positions listed in the constitution. He is a private citizen."
That effort failed -- but 45 Republican Senators sided with Paul -- including now Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said just last week that Trump 'provoked' the mob that stormed the Capitol.
Only five Republicans voted down the effort, which signals a weak appetite among GOP lawmakers to convict the former president.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer hit back at the notion of constitutionality.
"By constitutional text, precedent and common basic sense, it is clearly and certainly constitutional to hold a trial for a former official. Former President Trump committed, in the view of many including myself, the gravest offense ever committed, by a president of the United States."
That offense being the incitement of insurrection by Trump supporters on January 6th, while Congress was in session to symbolically certify electoral college votes confirming Joe Biden as president.
The trial is set to begin on February 9th. At least 17 Republicans would need to join all 50 Democrats in the evenly divided Senate for Trump to be convicted, a two-thirds threshold that appears unlikely to be reached.