If House Democrats succeed in rallying enough votes to impeach Donald Trump, the president’s fate will be decided by a trial in the U.S. Senate. But by the looks of it, the Senate won’t be as quick to convict Trump as Democrats are hoping.
In a speech at a Young America’s Foundation event earlier this week, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) slammed Democrats and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), saying Schiff’s actions are far worse than anything the president may have done.
“I for one was more offended, probably, actually, by what Adam Schiff’s done than any of the accusations they have made [against] the president,” Paul said, according to the Washington Examiner.
He went on: “The fact that Adam Schiff used his own signature, acting like a judge, to subpoena phone records and then publish the phone records of the president’s lawyers talking to each other, the president’s lawyers talking to reporters, the ranking member [of the Intelligence panel], another congressman’s phone records — to have published that and you’re not hearing a squeak of anything from the mainstream media, they just don’t seem to care at all.”
Abuse of power
Paul’s comments came after Schiff cited the phone records of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) in his report on alleged impeachable wrongdoing by Trump. According to Paul, Democrats are saying that Trump “abused his power for political purposes” — but they should be looking in the mirror.
“I think that’s exactly what Schiff did, abused his power,” Paul said before alluding to privacy concerns that extend far beyond Nunes.
“This is something I’ve cared about even before this happened because we let government in general take a look at too many of our phone records,” Paul said, according to the Examiner. “It should require a judge, it should require probable cause, and you should be accused of a crime, a real crime.”
Along party lines
Further, while Paul doesn’t see any Republicans getting on the impeachment train, the senator does believe that some Democrats could be jumping off it.
“I think in the end it’s going to be party line in the House,” Paul predicted. “I think that there are already two Democrats that voted against the impeachment inquiry, I think there might be a handful more.”
Still, Paul conceded that those defections probably won’t affect the final outcome. “I think it’s still probably going to pass,” he admitted.
A bipartisan affair
Regarding how things will play out in the Senate, Paul opined: “Right now, I think every Republican votes against impeachment and I think that there’s a possibility of two Democrats voting against impeachment.”
Paul didn’t identify the two Democrats, but some have speculated West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Alabama’s Doug Jones could vote in Trump’s favor. For his part, Manchin is considered a moderate who is known for bucking his party. Last year, he was the only Democrat who voted to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
What’s more, Trump has deep support in West Virginia, where he took almost 68% of the vote in 2016, according to The New York Times. The president is also far more popular in Alabama than he is in the country overall, meaning there’s yet another Democrat who could make the effort against Trump’s impeachment a bipartisan affair.
This is probably not what Nancy Pelosi had in mind.