Sen. Leahy returns to Capitol to preside over impeachment trial after hospitalization

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Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, who is presiding over former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, returned to the Capitol Wednesday following his hospitalization Tuesday.

Leahy, 80, who has appeared in five “Batman” movies, will serve as the judge — and a juror — at Trump’s trial in his role as Senate president pro tempore.

“Glad to see my colleague from Vermont here,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said following a morning Senate floor speech.

“I thank the distinguished leader,” Leahy responded.

Leahy could be heard adding, “thank you for the call last night.”

Trump was impeached by the House for allegedly inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol riot that killed five people and disrupted certification of President Biden’s victory.

Leahy, a senator since 1975, was released Tuesday night from the hospital after not feeling well earlier in the day.

“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,” Leahy’s spokesman said.

At least 17 Senate Republicans must vote to convict Trump of inciting an insurrection in order for him to be found guilty — a steep climb. If he’s convicted, he could be barred from holding office again by a simple majority vote.

But on Tuesday, 45 Republicans voted for a motion by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) that would have declared the trial unconstitutional because Trump no longer holds office. Just five Republicans sided with Democrats in the 55-45 vote, potentially foreshadowing the trial’s outcome of acquittal.

Democrats said Leahy will preside over Trump’s trial, rather than the Supreme Court chief justice, because Trump is no longer president. They say there’s precedent in conducting the proceedings. Ex-Secretary of War William Belknap was impeached and put on trial in the Senate in 1876 despite resigning in a bribery scandal.

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