Vermont Democratic Sen. Pat Leahy was hospitalized Tuesday just hours after being sworn in to preside over the second impeachment of President Donald Trump.
Leahy, 80, is the president pro tempore of the Senate. He is third in the line of succession and the most senior Democrat in the Senate.
He took up his role presiding as other senators were sworn in as the court of impeachment Tuesday.
'This evening, Sen. Leahy was in his Capitol office and was not feeling well. He was examined in the Capitol by the Attending Physician, his spokesman David Carle told ABC News.
In this image from video, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, swears in Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the president pro tempore of the Senate, who will preside over the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Leahy was hospitalized after telling the Capitol physician he wasn't feeling well
'Out of an abundance of caution, the Attending Physician recommended that he be taken to a local hospital for observation, where he is now, and where he is being evaluated,' he added.
Beyond his mostly ceremonial role at the trial, Leahy, like every other Senate Democrat, helps ensure the party's the 50-50 Senate. Since Democrats control the White House, Vice President Kamala Harris can break ties as president of the Senate and provides the party effective control.
Leahy is the senior most Senate Democrat and president pro tempore of the body
In this image from video, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, shakes hands with Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the president pro tempore of the Senate
Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts presided over Trump's first impeachment, but reportedly was not keen on presiding over the second one
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts presided over Trump's first impeachment, but reportedly did not want to do it again for the first impeachment of a former president.
News of Leahy's hospitalization came hours after 45 Republicans voted on a procedural motion that the trial of Trump after he left office was unconstitutional – a sign that the effort to impeach Trump faced steep obstacles.
Seventeen Republicans would need to join 50 Democrats to convict Trump. A single Republican, Mitt Romney of Utah, voted for an impeachment article during Trump's first impeachment last year.
Tuesday's trial action was mostly ceremonial, and sets up a substantive trial that will begin February 9.
In the meantime, Trump's lawyers and Democratic managers are preparing briefs that they would file on the charge of 'incitement of insurrection' following the Jan. 6 MAGA riots inside the Capitol.
The interregnum will give the Senate time to move on some Joe Biden cabinet nominations as the nation grapples with the Coronavirus pandemic that has taken more than 400,000 American lives.
Leahy is the top Democrat on the powerful Appropriations Committee, and previously chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee. First elected in 1974, he served decades with President Joe Biden when he was in the Senate, and has been a prominent figure in Supreme Court confirmation battles.
An avid amateur photographer, he snapped images inside the Capitol rotunda Monday shortly before House managers made the historic delivery of the impeachment article to begin the process.
Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, the Senate Majority Whip, said Leahy's wife, Marcelle Pomerleau, a nurse, was with him at the hospital. He told CNN it was 'just an abundance of caution' and Leahy was 'feeling uncomfortable.'
'She says things are going well so we've all got our fingers crossed that he'll be back tomorrow,' Durbin added.
45 Republican senators including Mitch McConnell vote that Donald Trump's impeachment trial is unconstitutional because he is no longer in office - in sign they will vote to acquitByEmily Goodin, Senior U.S. Political Reporter For Dailymail.com
A majority of Republicans voted Tuesday that Donald Trump's second impeachment is unconstitutional, a sign the former president will likely be acquitted in his upcoming trial.
Republican Senator Rand Paul forced the Senate to vote on the issue, arguing the trial was illegal given that Trump no longer occupies the Oval Office.
Most Republicans, including GOP Leader Mitch McConnell agreed with him: 45 of them voted it was illegal but five GOP senators joined Democrats to give them 55 votes to proceed.
It would take two-thirds of the Senate to convict Trump, which would mean 17 Republican senators would have to cross ranks and vote for the conviction.
If Paul received more than 34 votes from Republicans, it would demonstrate that a Trump conviction would seem all but impossible. He got 44 to join him.
He told reporters afterward the vote meant 'the impeachment trial is dead on arrival.'
'It's one of the few times in Washington where a loss is actually a victory,' he noted.
The Republicans who went against Trump and with Democrats were Senators Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Pat Toomey.
And Collins later told reporters on Capitol Hill that the vote was indicative that Trump would be acquitted.
'I think it's pretty obvious from the vote today that it is extraordinary unlikely that the president will be convicted,' she said. 'Just do the math.'
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who is acting as a liaison between Trump and the Republican senators said he spoke to the former president Monday night.
'He's decompressing,' Graham said. 'He's got a legal team he's trying to organize and he just needs to keep doing what he's doing and trial will be over in a couple of weeks, I think.'
Tuesday's vote was a good sign for Trump. Ahead of it, Paul argued that trying a former president would violate the U.S. Constitution.
'He is a private citizen,' the senator said of Trump during remarks on the Senate floor.
A majority of Republicans voted that Donald Trump's second impeachment is unconstitutional in a sign he will likely be acquitted when the time comes
Paul pointed that article one, section three of the Constitution states when the president of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside. Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy is presiding instead of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who sat over Trump's first impeachment trial.
'The Chief Justice's absence demonstrate that this is not a trial of the president, but one of private citizen. Therefore I make a point of order that this proceeding, which would try a private citizen and not a president, a vice president or civil officer violates the Constitution, and is not an order,' he said.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer called Paul's theory nonsense and said it would give presidents a 'constitutional get out of jail free card.'
'The Senate has the power to try former officials and the reasons for that are basic common sense. It makes no sense whatsoever that a president or any official could could commit a heinous crime against our country and then defeat Congress's impeachment powers and avoid a vote on disqualification by simply resigning or by waiting to commit that offense until their last few weeks in office,' he said.
'The theory that the Senate cannot try former officials would amount to a constitutional get out of jail free card for any president who commits an impeachable offense,' Schumer concluded.
Republican Senator Rand Paul forced the Senate to vote Tuesday on whether the upper chamber can legally hold a trial for Donald Trump
Only five Republican senators joined Democrats in voting Trump's trial should proceed
The 100 senators - 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans - were sworn in as Donald Trump's jury
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell joined the 45 GOP senators who said it was unconstitutional to impeach President Trump now that he was out of office
Earlier, in a speech on the Senate floor, Paul railed against Democrats, calling them 'angry, unhinged partisans, deranged by their hatred of the former president.'
'Shame on those who seek blame and revenge, and who choose to pervert a constitutional process while doing so,' he said. 'I want this body on record — every last person here.'
Ahead of the vote he told reporters on Capitol Hill he did not expect to come out victorious but expected to get at least 40 Republican senators to vote with him.
Five Republicans who voted against Trump
Five Republican senators went against Donald Trump and voted with Democrats on Tuesday to proceed to the impeachment trial:
Mitt Romney of Utah: Romney is a longtime critic of Trump and voted to convict him on one article of impeachment in his first impeachment trial
Ben Sasse of Nebraska: Sasse slammed Trump for his role in inciting the January 6th riot. He said the attack on the Capitol was 'the inevitable and ugly outcome of the President's addiction to constantly stoking division.'
Susan Collins of Maine: Collins also held Trump accountable for the riot, saying 'The president does bear responsibility for working up the crowd and inciting this mob. It was completely irresponsible.'
Lisa Murkowski of Alaska: Murkowski called on Trump to resign immediately after the January 6th attack, even before Joe Biden took office. 'I want him to resign. I want him out. He has caused enough damage,' she said.
Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania: Toomey, who is retiring, also called on Trump to resign as president. 'The best way for our country is for the president to resign and go away as soon as possible. I acknowledge that may not be likely, but that would be best.'
'I think it'll be enough to show that, you know, more than a third of the Senate thinks that the whole proceeding is unconstitutional, which will show that ultimately they don't have the votes to do an impeachment,' Paul said.
'This is purely about petty partisanship and rancor and bitterness,' the Republican from Kentucky said.
Before Paul made his objection, the 100 senators - 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans - were sworn in as Trump's jury.
'Do you solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald John Trump...you will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help you God?,' Leahy asked them.
'I do,' the senators replied.
After taking the oath, senators, in groups of four via alphabetical order, walked to the well of Senate to sign the oath book.
'Here ye! Here ye! Here ye! All persons are commanded to keep silence on pain of imprisonment while the House of Representatives is exhibiting to the Senate of the Unites States an Article of Impeachment against Donald John Trump, former President of the United States,' the clerk of the Senate reminded the lawmakers.
Trump is the only president to have been impeached by the House of Representatives twice. And he is the first to face a trial after leaving office. He could be disqualified from holding future public office if convicted.
The trial is expected to begin on Feb. 9 but the article of impeachment was delivered to the Senate Monday night.
The House approved the single article of impeachment on Jan. 13, accusing Trump of inciting an insurrection with his speech to his supporters before they stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, which resulted in five deaths and the interruption of the certification of the election.
There was a debate among scholars over whether the Senate can hold a trial for Trump since he left office on January 20th. Many experts have said 'late impeachment' is constitutional, arguing that presidents who engage in misconduct late in their terms should not be immune from the very process set out in the Constitution for holding them accountable.
Senate Republicans on Tuesday invited constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley to join them at their weekly luncheon to address senators questions on the constitutionality of holding an impeachment trial for a former president.
Turley wrote an article in 1999 where he came out in favor of trying former federal officials.
'I say that repeatedly that what I said in '99 is true that obviously those three trials, they had a value other than removal because people were gone. And I explained that that value was the condemnation of conduct as well as possible disqualification. I still believe the historical statement in that,' he told reporters on Capitol Hill after the luncheon.
And he confirmed he got many, many questions from the senators.
'Yes. And no lunch,' he said.
Senator Rand Paul told reporters before his vote that he wanted to get enough Republican senators to vote with him to prove there were not enough votes to convict Donald Trump
Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, the president pro tempore, swore in the senators and will preside over Trump's trial
Trump's trial is expected to begin on Feb. 9 in the Senate chamber
At least 17 Republican 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.
Trump remains a powerful force among Republicans and his supporters have vowed to mount election challenges to lawmakers in the party who support conviction.
Some Republicans have criticized Trump's false claims of voting fraud and his failed efforts to overturn President Joe Biden's Nov. 3 election victory. But no Senate Republicans have said definitively that they plan to vote to convict him.