Senate President Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy was briefly hospitalized Tuesday, just hours after being sworn in to preside over the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.
The 80-year-old Democrat from Vermont “was not feeling well” in his office at the Capitol on Tuesday evening and was examined by the attending physician, Leahy spokesperson David Carle said in a statement at the time.
“The Capitol Physician suggested that Senator Leahy go to George Washington University Hospital this evening for observation, out of an abundance of caution,” Carle said after Leahy was released. “After getting test results back, and after a thorough examination, Senator Leahy is now home. He looks forward to getting back to work.”
The statement did not include whether Leahy’s condition had improved, nor did it announce any diagnosis.
Earlier on Tuesday, Leahy was formally assigned to preside over the Senate’s trial against Trump after the House voted to impeach the then-president on one charge of inciting an insurrection. The trial proceedings are expected to begin on Feb. 8.
Leahy would still be able to vote in the trial, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.
“I’m not presenting the evidence. I’m making sure procedures are followed,” Leahy said Monday on his role in the trial. “I don’t think there’s any senator who over the 40-plus years I’ve been here would say I’ve been anything but impartial in ruling on procedure.”
As president pro tempore of the Senate, Leahy is constitutionally the second-highest-ranking Senate official after Vice President Kamala Harris, and third in the line of succession. A situation in which Leahy vacates his seat would not only impact the impeachment trial ― it would also jeopardize Democrats’ razor-thin majority in the upper chamber, where even one less vote could alter the fate of significant legislation.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday that Leahy is expected to be back in the Senate on Wednesday. Leahy’s wife, Marcelle, who is a nurse, said at the time of the hospitalization that the senator was “doing fine” and resting comfortably, according to Durbin.
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