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Sen. Patrick Leahy, set to preside over impeachment trial, taken to hospital

Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vt.), who announced Monday that he will preside over the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, has been taken to the hospital “out of an abundance of caution,” according to a Leahy spokesman.

What are the details?

David Carle, a spokesman for Leahy, issued a statement saying:

“This evening, Sen Leahy was in his Capitol office and was not feeling well. He was examined in the Capitol by the Attending Physician. 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.”

The New York Post reported that Leahy “complained that he did not feel well after overseeing the swearing-in of senators as jurors in the trial earlier Tuesday.”

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Leahy, 80, is the longest-serving Democratic senator and the Senate president pro tempore. CNBC reported that he is “third in line in the order of presidential succession, after [Vice President Kamala] Harris and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.”

Leahy was tapped to preside over the Senate impeachment trial of Trump, which is scheduled to start Feb. 8, after U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts reportedly turned down the role.

According to The New York Times:

The Constitution states that the chief justice of the United States presides over any impeachment trial of the president or vice president. But it does not explicitly give guidance on who should oversee the proceeding for others, including former presidents, and it appeared that Chief Justice Roberts was uninterested in reprising a time consuming role that would insert him and the Supreme Court directly into the fractious political fight over Mr. Trump.

Republicans protest selection

Republicans have protested the selection of Leahy to oversee the trial, with some pointing to bias given that the Democrat already voted once to impeach the president in his trial last year.

Leahy issued a statement vowing to “do impartial justice according to the Constitution [and] the laws,” arguing:

“The president pro tempore has historically presided over Senate impeachment trials of non-presidents. When presiding over an impeachment trial, the president pro tempore takes an additional special oath to do impartial justice according to the Constitution and its laws. It is an oath that I take extraordinarily seriously.”

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