U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy was hospitalised , after presiding over the start of former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial, according to a spokesperson for the Vermont Democrat.
David Carle, Leahy’s press secretary, did not disclose the specifics of the 80-year-old senator’s condition, only saying he was not feeling well after returning to his office from the trial late Tuesday.
“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, Carle said in a statement.
As president pro tempore, Leahy is the Senate’s second-highest-ranking member and third in the line of presidential succession.
First elected in 1975, Leahy is the fifth longest-serving senator in U.S. history.
Like most congressional leaders, Leahy has already been vaccinated for COVID-19.
Leahy’s hospitalisation could complicate the Democratic push for convicting Trump at his impeachment trial on charges that he incited this month’s deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Senate Democratic leaders tapped Leahy to preside over Trump’s trial instead of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, as would be customary.
During Tuesday’s session, Leahy oversaw the swearing-in of senators as jurors of the trial.
It’s unclear how the trial would proceed without Leahy at the helm.
If Leahy is absent, Republicans would control the Senate 50-49, further complicating matters.
However, the trial isn’t expected to resume until February 9, when opening arguments are set to start, giving Leahy time to recover.