Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the lawmaker tapped to preside over President Trump’s impeachment trial, has been hospitalized, his spokesman said.
The 80-year-old Senate president pro tempore was taken to a local hospital and is under observation after he complained that he did not feel well after overseeing the swearing-in of senators as jurors in the trial earlier Tuesday.
“This evening, Senator Leahy was in his Capitol office and was not feeling well,” Leahy spokesman David Carle said in a statement.
“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,” he said.
Leahy at times sounded muffled and out of breath during the proceedings.
A stalwart of the upper chamber, Leahy has served as a senator for 46 years and was sworn in as president pro tempore of the Senate for the third time last week.
The constitutional role makes Leahy responsible for presiding over the new Democrat-controlled Senate, including the upcoming impeachment trial.
In a statement, the Vermont lawmaker explained that he would oversee the trial instead of Supreme Court Justice John Roberts because Trump is no longer president.
It’s unclear how long Leahy will be hospitalized for, what his condition is, and whether his ill health will delay the trial which is due to begin on Feb. 8.
Following Tuesday’s swearing-in, more than 45 GOP lawmakers voted to toss Trump’s impeachment trial as unconstitutional, all but assuring that the impeachment article charging the former president with inciting the Jan. 6 US Capitol siege, will be dead on arrival.