A prominent Democrat lawmaker has suggested that President Donald Trump may not receive the same unanimous support from GOP senators at the trial stage that he received from Republican members of the House during the first phase of the impeachment process.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) claimed that a small contingent of Republican senators would be willing to convict and remove President Trump from office when articles of impeachment are taken up by that chamber, Newsweek reported.
Murphy’s comments came during a recent appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. There he was asked whether he was aware of any GOP senators who were likely to vote in support of ousting Trump from office. “Yes,” Murphy replied. “It’s a small list, on one hand.”
The senator refused to name names, but he was adamant that such individuals exist. What’s more, Murphy asserted that these individuals would be willing to strike out against Trump without hiding behind a shroud of anonymity.
“I don’t buy this secret ballot thing,” Murphy said, in response to an idea that was floated by media pundits back in November. “If there was a secret ballot, there’d still be only a handful of them that would vote to impeach this guy,” he added.
Murphy was clear in registering his disagreement with the argument put forward by some that if the Senate vote to convict or acquit was conducted anonymously, then Trump stood a greater chance of removal. This implication, of course, is that there is a sizable number of Republicans who want to get rid of Trump but are unwilling to put their careers on the line to do so.
Thus far, Republicans have been united in support of the president against impeachment. This past week, when two articles of impeachment were put before the House, not a single Republican legislator voted in favor of either one.
Democrats, however, did not enjoy the same degree of unity when it came time to vote. In fact, two of their own, Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey — who subsequently switched party affiliation to become a Republican — and Collin Peterson (MN), sided with their GOP colleagues, and 2020 hopeful Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) avoided taking a stand either way and voted “present.”
Thus far, conventional wisdom about the upcoming Senate trial has assumed that Republicans will stand firmly behind Trump, not only by voting to acquit, but also by helping to expose the blatantly partisan nature of the Democrat-led House inquiry.
This is likely among the reasons why Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has yet to transmit the articles over to the Senate — she simply doesn’t want the House Democrats’ success in impeaching Trump to just go up in a puff a smoke.
Even if Murphy is right, and there does exist a small number of Republicans — five or fewer — who will vote to convict Trump, that tally is insufficient to remove the president from office. Two-thirds of the Senate would be required for that to occur, meaning the support of at least 20 Republican Senators is necessary.
For any Republican to take that route would be the ultimate betrayal. It would also likely be an act of political suicide.