As the House prepares to bring Donald Trump’s impeachment charge to the Senate on Monday, a growing number of GOP senators say they are opposed to the proceeding, fading the chances of conviction.
House democrats will present the sole impeachment charge of “incitement of insurrection” following the Capitol riot on January 6. Team left lawmakers are hoping that their republican colleagues will rise above to convict Trump, a vote that would prohibit him from running for office in 2024 and beyond.
In the House, 10 republicans joined democrats in voting 232-197 to impeach Trump on January 13.
But, it’s not looking good, as tempers among republicans have cooled over the last several weeks.
“I think the trial is stupid, I think it’s counterproductive,” said Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in a Fox News interview. “The first chance I get to vote to end this trial, I’ll do it,” he added, because he believes it would be bad for the country and cause further division. .
Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton said he didn’t believe the Senate had the constitutional authority to convict Trump after he had left office. Cotton said, “the more I talk to other Republican senators, the more they’re beginning to line up” behind that argument, according to the Associated Press.
“I think a lot of Americans are going to think it’s strange that the Senate is spending its time trying to convict and remove from office a man who left office a week ago,” Cotton added.
In a “Meet the Press” interview on NBC, Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota called Trump’s impeachment “a moot point,” adding, “I think it’s one that they would have a very difficult time in trying to get done within the Senate.”
“There are other things we’d rather be working on instead,” he said.
And Texas Sen. John Cornyn, tweeted on Saturday: “If it is a good idea to impeach and try former Presidents, what about former Democratic Presidents when Republicans get the majority in 2022? Think about it and let’s do what is best for the country.”
No, it’s takes unanimous consent. But you already knew that. BTW, if it is a good idea to impeach and try former Presidents, what about former Democratic Presidents when Republicans get the majority in 2022? Think about it and let’s do what is best for the country. https://t.co/cCkumapbWY
— Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) January 23, 2021
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally who has been helping him build a legal team, urged the Senate to reject the idea of a post-presidency trial — potentially with a vote to dismiss the charge — suggesting Republicans will scrutinize whether Trump’s words on Jan. 6 were legally “incitement,” Breitbart reports.
Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso said Democrats were sending a message that “hatred and vitriol of Donald Trump is so strong” that they are willing to hold a trial that halts Biden’s policy priorities from moving forward.
Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson suggested Democrats are choosing “vindictiveness” over national security as Joe Biden settles into the White House.
Conversely, a few GOP senators agree with the democrats, but unlikely enough to convict due to the two thirds majority requirement, requiring at least 17 GOP votes
Only five or six republican senators seem likely to vote for impeachment, The Hill reports.
Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, the lone republican to vote to convict Trump during his first impeachment trial, appears to be one of the outliers.
Romney said he believes there is a “preponderance of opinion” that an impeachment trial is appropriate after someone leaves office.
“I believe that what is being alleged and what we saw, which is incitement to insurrection, is an impeachable offense,” Romney said. “If not, what is?”
Others include Sens. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) who said they believe Trump likely committed impeachable offenses, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) who blasted Trump for inciting the crowd, and Sen. Lisa Murkowsi (R-Alaska) who called on him to resign early.
While Mitch McConnell has reportedly said he believes Trump committed impeachable offenses, the GOP leader has not said how he would vote. However, many believe he will not vote to convict Trump if doing so would hurt the chances of a republican controlled Senate in 2022, according to The Hill.
The Senate trial is set to begin the week of February 8, after leaders in both parties agreed to give Trump’s team and House prosecutors time to adequately prepare.