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Yesterday Republican Mitch McConnell proposed delaying Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, and Democrat House speaker Nancy Pelosi decline to confirm when the article of impeachment will be sent from the House to the Senate. However, whenever it happens, Tom McCarthy reports that the verdict will rest in the hands of Republican Senators:
A two-thirds majority of voting senators – 67 if all 100 members vote – is still required to convict the president, and the Democratic caucus will number only 50 senators. Thus they would need 17 Republicans to join them to convict Trump.
If convicted, Trump could be banned from ever again holding public office. If not, Trump, who won the votes of 74 million Americans just two months ago, might simply run for president again in 2024.
The judgment facing Republicans is more political than constitutional, said Frank O Bowman III, author of High Crimes and Misdemeanors: A History of Impeachment for the Age of Trump and a professor at the University of Missouri school of law.
“If Republicans decide, as most of them will, maybe nearly all, to vote against this, it’s going to have nothing to do with their opinion about the behavior of Donald Trump,” he said.
“It will have everything to do with their narrow political calculation about balancing whatever allegiance they may feel to the constitution with concerns about being attacked from the Trumpist right, to, on the other side, a sense that I suspect many of them have that if they could rid themselves of this turbulent priest, and not have to suffer any major electoral consequences, they’d do it in a minute.”
The most important Republican senator of all, minority leader McConnell has indicated that he might vote to convict Trump, whom he blasted on the floor of the Senate a day before Trump left office.
“The mob was fed lies,” McConnell said. “They were provoked by the president and other powerful people. And they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like. But we pressed on.”
McConnell’s break with Trump is breathtaking for many political observers. The last time Trump faced an impeachment trial, McConnell promised “total coordination with the White House” on Trump’s defense, said there was “no chance” Trump would be convicted, and told Fox News, “the case is so darn weak coming from the House”.
This time, McConnell has announced: “I have not made a final decision on how I will vote, and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate.”
Read more of Tom McCarthy’s report here: Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial rests in the hands of Republican senators