A notable majority of Republican senators voted Tuesday against proceeding with the impeachment trial of former U.S. President Donald Trump.
According to the New York Post, analysts believe this shows Mr Trump’s conviction is all but impossible.
The 56-44 vote was called to try Mr Trump for allegedly inciting the deadly January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters which led to some deaths.
Mr Trump, who recently left office, had disputed the election which brought his rival, Joe Biden, into power. He, however, did not provide proof of election fraud.
Tuesday’s vote followed more than three hours of arguments by lawyers on both sides, the newspaper reported.
Voting pattern, significance
Six Republicans voted with all 50 Democrats, one more than during a vote last month that gauged support for one of the former president’s key defences — that the Senate has no jurisdiction over him because he’s no longer in office.
But the vote also signals that it’s highly unlikely 17 GOP senators will join with the Senate’s 50 Democrats to comprise the two-thirds majority needed to convict Mr Trump.
Meanwhile, Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said he switched his position on Mr Trump’s trial based on what he described as “the strength of the Democratic House impeachment managers in making their case — and the relative weakness of Trump’s lawyers.”
“President Trump’s teams were disorganized. They did everything they could but to talk about the question at hand — and when they talked about it, they kind of glided over, almost as if they were embarrassed of their arguments,” he was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
“Now, I’m an impartial juror. And one side’s doing a great job and the other side’s doing a terrible job at the issue at hand, and as an impartial juror, I’m going to vote for the side that did a good job,” Mr Cassidy added.
The other Republican senators who reprised their January votes included a known Trump critic, Mitt Romney of Utah — who cast the lone GOP vote to convict Mr Trump during his first impeachment trial.
Others were Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, who in October announced he was retiring from politics.