Bill Cassidy upsets Republicans in Louisiana with vote to proceed with impeachment trial


Republicans in Louisiana are riled up after one of their own, Sen. Bill Cassidy, voted in favor of proceeding with former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.

Cassidy, who represents the Bayou State alongside GOP Sen. John Kennedy, joined with five other Republicans on Tuesday in voting that Trump’s trial is constitutional. The other 44 Republicans in the minority voted against it, taking the side of the Trump legal defense team, which argues that the trial is unconstitutional since Trump is no longer in office.

The Republican Party of Louisiana “is profoundly disappointed” with Cassidy's vote, the group said in a news release that also criticizes the trial in which senators are considering a House-passed article of impeachment for incitement of insurrection in connection to the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot.

“We feel that an impeachment trial of a private citizen is not only an unconstitutional act, but also an attack on the very foundation of American democracy, which will have far reaching and unforeseen consequences for our republic,” the state party said. “We also remind all Americans that former President Trump is innocent of the politically motivated, bogus charges now pending against him in a kangaroo court presided over by an openly hostile political opponent.”

The party also highlighted the fact that Kennedy voted that the trial was unconstitutional and said he “has clearly made the right decision once again.”

Trump’s impeachment trial began on Tuesday, with both House impeachment managers and Trump’s defense team offering introductory presentations. Cassidy, who last month voted in favor of a motion brought by Sen. Rand Paul to stop the trial on the grounds that it was unconstitutional, said the impeachment managers made a convincing argument for having the trial proceed.

“I always said I’d be an impartial juror. Anyone listening to those arguments would recognize that the House managers were focused. They relied upon precedent, upon the opinion of legal scholars,” he said after the vote. “Anyone who listened to President Trump’s legal team saw they were unfocused, they attempted to avoid the issue, and they talked about everything but the issue at hand.”

Cassidy said he will have to listen to the trial to decide on whether to convict or acquit the former president on the article of inciting an insurrection.

The other five Republicans who voted with the Democrats, as well as the two independents who caucus with them, were Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Arizona, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Susan Collins of Maine, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Mitt Romney of Utah.

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