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Sen. Patrick Leahy taken to hospital ‘out of abundance of caution’ after presiding over opening of Trump’s impeachment trial


“This evening, Senator Leahy was in his Capitol office and was not feeling well. He was examined in the Capitol by the Attending Physician,” his spokesperson David Carle said in a statement. “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.”

As the Senate president pro tempore — the longest-serving senator of the majority party — the 80-year-old Vermont Democrat is presiding over Trump’s impeachment trial in lieu of Chief Justice John Roberts. Roberts, who oversaw Trump’s first impeachment trial, chose not to oversee the proceedings because Trump is no longer in office, according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Sen. Dick Durbin, the second highest-ranking Senate Democrat, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday evening that Leahy could be back in the chamber Wednesday.

“Pat Leahy’s wife, Marcelle, is a nurse, and she’s with him, and this was just an abundance of caution,” Durbin said. “He was feeling uncomfortable, as you mentioned, so they wanted to give him a trip to the hospital so they can watch him for a little while. She says things are going well, so we have all got our fingers crossed he will be back tomorrow.”

Leahy’s hospitalization came soon after the impeachment trial began Tuesday afternoon with his swearing in. Leahy then swore in the rest of the Senate, and senators went four at a time to sign an “oath book” as jurors for the trial.

The deal that Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reached last week pushed back the start date for the substance of the proceedings, but several ceremonial functions of the trial took place Tuesday.

The trial is effectively on hold as the impeachment managers and Trump’s legal team exchange pre-trial briefs for two weeks. The final briefs would be due on February 9, allowing the trial to begin in earnest.

House impeachment managers, a group of Democratic lawmakers who will act as prosecutors presenting the case against Trump during the trial, delivered the single article of impeachment to the Senate on Monday, which typically triggers a quick start to an impeachment trial. But the move to delay the start gives Democrats more time to confirm Biden’s Cabinet and potentially take up a new Covid-19 relief bill while Trump’s defense team has more time to prepare for trial.

This story has been updated with additional reporting.


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