The vote took place shortly after 100 senators pledged to do “justice” in a hearing beginning in the upper house on February 9.
The practice has a dual historical meaning: Donald Trump is the first US president to fall twice under a “charge” in the House of Representatives, and the first person to be prosecuted since leaving the White House.
Republican Liberal Rand Paul, who considers the process unconstitutional because the Republican millionaire is no longer in office, challenged this last point.
By forcing senators to speak openly on the issue, he raised the issue at the session, forcing them to vote to block the process. Eventually, Rand’s attempt was rejected, and Trump’s trial continued.
Forty-five of the 50 Republican senators supported the move, and their group’s powerful leader, Mitch McConnell, has not yet ruled out condemning the former president.
According to Rand Paul, the decision means that the investigation is “dead” because “Democrats need an additional 17 Republican votes, so Donald Trump is unlikely to be convicted.”
But while some have pointed out that the referendum did not foresee a final decision to condemn Donald Trump, at least it does testify to the former president’s strong influence over the party.
Only five Republicans voted in favor with 50 Democrats: Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Ben Sauce and Pat Doomi.