REPUBLICANS have rallied around Donald Trump and voted against trying the former president for “incitement of insurrection”.
Only five members of Mr Trump’s party voted to go forward with the impeachment trial for his part in the Capitol protests on January 6.
In a 55 to 45 vote, Senators narrowly halted the Republican effort to dismiss the impeachment charge.
The Senate set aside an objection from Kentucky Senator Rand Paul that would have declared the impeachment proceedings unconstitutional.
“If more than 34 Republicans vote against the constitutionality of the proceeding, the whole thing’s dead on arrival,” Paul said shortly before the vote.
He added that Democrats “probably should rest their case and present no case at all.”
As such, Trump’s impeachment will begin as scheduled on the week of February 8.
Many Republican senators have challenged the legitimacy of the trial and questioned whether Trump’s repeated demands to overturn Joe Biden’s election really constitute an “incitement of insurrection.”
Paul called the vote “deranged”, saying: “Private citizens don’t get impeached.
“Impeachment is for removal from office, and the accused here has already left office.
Most read in News
“I want this body on record — every last person here,” he added. “Is this how you think politics should be?”
Among the Republicans who joined Democrats in voting to put aside the objection and proceed were Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania.
Ms. Murkowski said: “My review of it has led me to conclude it is constitutional in recognizing impeachment is not solely about removing a president, it is also a matter of political consequence.”