The overwhelming majority of Republicans in the US Senate voted to halt the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, in an effort that was narrowly defeated by Democrats and a handful of moderate Republicans.
Republican leader Mitch McConnell, along with 44 other Republicans, voted to end the impeachment process, a key indication that Democrats will be unable to convince enough Republicans to convict the former president.
Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky proposed the measure which sought to halt the impeachment trial, on the grounds that it is unconstitutional since Trump has already left office.
A two-thirds majority is needed to convict in the Senate, meaning that 17 Senate Republicans would have to side with Democrats to obtain a conviction and subsequently bar Trump from running for office again.
The vote on Tuesday came after the 100 senators were sworn in as jurors to begin the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, the first to be faced by a president who as already left office.
The trial, which is similar to a court proceeding with the senators functioning as jurors, is set to begin during the week of February 8.
Trump is facing an unprecedented second impeachment trial over the deadly storming of the Capitol building on January 6.
Lawmakers have accused Trump of inciting an insurrection after a violent mob of his supporters attacked the Congress building following one of his rallies, leading to the death of five people.
Trump has remained defiant, taking no responsibility for his role in the assault.
Only three presidents including Trump have been impeached in US history, while President Richard Nixon resigned from office before being impeached.
All impeachment trials have resulted in an acquittal for the president, however, Trump’s second impeachment is the most bipartisan in history with 10 Republicans joining Democrats to impeach.
Trump was previously impeached in 2019 on allegations of abusing his position, but the Senate cleared him of charges last year.