On Tuesday, Senator Patrick Leahy was sworn in to oversee the Trump impeachment trial after Chief Justice Roberts deferred from ruling over it on constitutional grounds. Just hours later, he suddenly felt ill and after conferring with the Capitol physician, went to the hospital “out of an abundance of caution.” He was discharged and is now home.
“The Capitol physician suggested that Senator Leahy go to George Washington University Hospital this evening for observation, out of an abundance of caution,” spokesman David Carle stated.
“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.”
— Kristin Wilson (@kristin__wilson) January 26, 2021
Leahy is Senate president pro tempore and is 80 years old. He is the longest-serving senator in the Democratic Party and the highest-ranking Democrat in the Senate. He hails from Vermont and is third in line to the succession of the presidency. Vice President Kamala Harris leads that pack followed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He has served as a senator for 46 years and was sworn in as president pro tempore of the Senate for the third time just this last week.
Leahy is back home: “… 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.”
— Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) January 27, 2021
The senator was designated to lead the second impeachment trial of former President Trump due to Justice Roberts declining to do so. Roberts said no because Trump is no longer in office and it is thought that, constitutionally, a private citizen cannot be impeached.
Sen. Dick Durbin told the media that Leahy could be back as early as Wednesday which turned out to be true.
“Pat Leahy’s wife, Marcelle, is a nurse, and she’s with him, and this was just an abundance of caution,” Durbin told CNN. “He was feeling uncomfortable, as you mentioned, so they wanted to give him a trip to the hospital so they can watch him for a little while. She says things are going well, so we have all got our fingers crossed he will be back tomorrow.”
Leahy swore in the Senators four at a time for the impeachment trial. He became ill shortly thereafter. At times during the proceedings, Leahy sounded out of breath.
Leahy spox: “The Capitol Physician suggested that Senator Leahy go to George Washington University Hospital this evening for observation, out of an abundance of caution. After getting test results back, and after a thorough examination, Senator Leahy now is home.”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 27, 2021
After haggling between themselves, Schumer and McConnell have determined that the start date for the trial will be in early February. The functions that took place on Tuesday were ceremonial in nature.
Pre-trial briefs will be exchanged for two weeks. Final briefs are due on February 9 and then the trial will kick into full gear.
A potential absence by Leahy wouldn’t just impact the impeachment trial. It would imperil Dem Senate majority.
— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) January 26, 2021
The Senate is equally divided 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats and Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris is now the tiebreaking vote. If a seat were to become vacant or a senator such as Leahy was unable to vote, the balance of power could be upended. That would effectively cede power to the other side of the political aisle.
It is already being reported that the Democrats do not have enough votes to convict and Trump will be acquitted. 45 Republicans have voted that the impeachment is unconstitutional and it will likely be “dead on arrival.”
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