by Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge (*)
Several Senate Republicans believe at least one or two Democrats will vote against impeaching and removing President Trump once the House eventually hands over the two articles of impeachment which were passed last week, according to The Hill.
With 67 votes needed to convict the president and remove him from office, and the outcome of a Senate trial all but guaranteed, GOP senators are broadening their sights as they plot their strategy.
Senate Republicans think they’ll be able to pick up one or two Democrats on the final votes for each impeachment article. That would let them tout Trump’s acquittal as bipartisan — an angle they’ve already seized on when talking about the two House votes, in which a handful of Democrats crossed the aisle to join Republicans in opposing impeachment. –The Hill
“I think we might have a couple,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), who declined to name names.
“I don’t want to speculate on who — obviously that puts too much pressure on them — but I really think we have people on both sides that are trying to get to a reasonable, nonpartisan answer.”
And in a recent interview with Fox News, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) similarly predicted that a few Democrats would break ranks, and that no GOP senators would vote to convict Trump over allegations that he abused his office by asking Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, as well as other matters related to the 2016 US election.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if we got one or two Democrats. It looks to me over in the House, the Republicans seem to be solid and the Democrats seem to be divided,” said McConnell.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Fox News, “I think he will get every Republican’s vote for acquittal. And I think he will pick up some Democratic votes for acquittal.” Manchin, who was once considered for a Cabinet position in the Trump administration, comes from a deeply red state where Trump won in 2016 by roughly 42 percentage points. According to polling data website FiveThirtyEight, Manchin votes with Trump 53.1 percent of the time — the most of any Democratic senator currently in office.
He won reelection last year and has had high-profile breaks with his party, including being one of three Democrats to support Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and the only Democrat to support Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s successful nomination last year.
Manchin has described himself as “very much torn” on impeachment and stressed he won’t make a decision on whether to vote for conviction until he has “all of the facts.”
Jones, meanwhile, is viewed as the most vulnerable Democrat up for reelection next year as he tries to win a full term in Alabama, where Trump won in 2016 by nearly 28 points. Jones won his Senate seat in a December 2017 special election, where he ran against GOP nominee Roy Moore, the former Alabama chief justice who faced multiple accusations of sexual misconduct involving teenage girls from when he was in his 30s. –The Hill
Jones has advocated that his fellow Democrats be “impartial,” and has supported an effort to obtain the testimony of those with firsthand knowledge of Trump’s interactions with Ukraine.
“As a juror sworn to do impartial justice, I believe I should reserve judgment and let the process unfold without political interference — and I strongly encourage my colleagues to do the same,” said Jones following the House’s passage of the two articles of impeachment.
As The Hill notes, two House Democrats voted against the first article of impeachment, while three voted against the second. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) voted “present” for each.
Another Potential Senate Democrat speculated to vote against impeachment is Sen. Krysten Sinema of Arizona – a moderate freshman who has voted with Trump 52.9% of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight.
Sinema is known around the Capitol for being tight-lipped and does not do hallway interviews with reporters. But Sinema told KNXV, a TV station in Arizona, that she will go into the trial unbiased.
“As our juror it will be my constitutional duty to approach it with no bias,” she said. “And to listen to the arguments presented by both sides.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), meanwhile, is pushing for at least three or four Republicans needed to force the Senate to call witnesses in Trump’s trial, including former national security adviser John Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. Thu, 12/26/2019
(*) Zero Hedge in-house content is posted under the pseudonym “Tyler Durden”, however, the founder and main editor was identified as Daniel Ivandjiiski, Bulgarian born, U.S.–based, former investment banker and capital markets trader, and currently financial blogger, who founded the website Zero Hedge in January 2009, and remains its main publisher and editor.