In a turn of events, Supreme Court Justice John Roberts will not preside over former President Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial as originally believed.
Most Senior member of the Senate Democratic Conference, Senate President Pro Temopre, Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) will preside over the trial after voting in February to convict President Trump on two articles of impeachment.
Sen. Leahy will preside over former President Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate.
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) January 25, 2021
A spokesman for Leahy said Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have been in talks to lay the procedural groundwork.
“Leaders have been negotiating all process issues about the trial, and all along we have deferred to them for any announcements about this and all other process matters,” the aide said.
“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,” he said in a statement.
Outraged critics said this creates a conflict of interest because of Leahy’s votes to convict Trump in February.
Didn’t Leahy vote to convict during first impeachment, hardly a impartial person. Another kangaroo court in the new Banana Republic of the United States
— LuckyLou (@RetLuckyLou) January 25, 2021
And I'm sure leaky Leahy will be 100% impartial. https://t.co/RlfournGMC
— Syvyn11 – IT WASN'T ME! (@syvyn11) January 25, 2021
This move is also causing Vice President Kamala Harris to step aside from presiding over the trial. Leaving the questions, what is the makeup of the senators and is this a situation where she will still be able to step in and be a deciding vote.
When presiding over an impeachment trial, the president pro tempore takes a special oath to do impartial justice according to the Constitution & the laws. It is an oath that I take extraordinarily seriously. My comment here on presiding over Pres. Trump's impeachment trial: pic.twitter.com/Y93RedVb8w
— Sen. Patrick Leahy (@SenatorLeahy) January 25, 2021
Sen Leahy is confident that he will be able to preside over the trial impartially and stated he is not handling evidence. His job is to ensure procedure is followed according to the Constitution.