Democrats are grasping at straws to convince the public they have enough votes to remove President Donald Trump from office.
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) told MNSBC Wednesday that as many as 10 Republican senators could defect and vote for Trump’s conviction, still well short of the 20 that would need to cross the aisle to remove Trump from power. Blumenthal’s prediction flies in the face of the conventional wisdom that Trump’s acquittal is virtually assured.
The Democrat compared the impeachment of Trump to Watergate and held out hope that “unpredicted evidence” would pressure Republicans to complete the coup.
Blumenthal estimates up to 10 GOP defections
As impeachment moves to the Republican Senate, Democrats have begun to ramp up the shame campaign on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and members of his caucus. As kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy, Democrats and their media allies are clinging to hope that talking up a rumored mutiny will, with enough pressure on Republicans, make Trump’s conviction a reality.
Cue Blumenthal’s sanguine prediction: asked how many Republicans would cross Trump, the Democrat said, “I would give the high end probably five to ten. I think that’s a realistic number.” But he didn’t discount the possibility that more evidence will miraculously emerge to change Republicans’ minds, despite months of inquiries having failed to do so.
“But, and I want to emphasize the ‘but,’ we need to keep in mind what’s unpredictable here. Remember the Watergate case where the Nixon tapes emerged seemingly by chance through Alex Butterfield’s testimony that was completely unanticipated the beginning. The Nixon wall cracked and the tapes were produced and that was the end of his presidency.”
Blumenthal sermonized that Republican senators should have the “conviction” and “patriotism” to let Democrats produce additional evidence — a privilege not given to House Republicans by committee chairs Adam Schiff (D-NY) or Jerry Nadler (D-NY) — and dangled the possibility that more than 10 Republicans would defect if a smoking gun materializes. He called the impeachment a “fluid situation” and vaguely warned that “history” will judge Republicans who don’t convict Trump.
McConnell promises swift trial, acquittal
But McConnell cast a cloud over Blumenthal’s daydreams Thursday, telling Fox News host Sean Hannity that there is “no chance” Trump will be removed from office. The Republican leader is expected to hold a trial rather than dismiss the charges outright, but he promised “total coordination” with the Trump Team and is hoping for a quick trial.
“The case is so darn weak coming over from the House. We all know how it’s going to end,” McConnell said. “There is no chance the president is going to be removed from office.”
Rumors of a Republican “revolt” in the Senate have been bubbling since the impeachment inquiry began, with speculation reaching a peak as McConnell and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) excoriated Trump’s withdrawal of troops from Syria in October. But the outrage over the Kurds has died down and the past few weeks of impeachment drama have yielded few surprises.
Things went according to script Friday when House Judiciary lawmakers, after a marathon hearing Thursday that stretched almost to midnight, voted strictly along party lines to approve two articles of impeachment against Trump. Graham responded by calling the impeachment a “sad, ridiculous sham” that needs to end quickly.
Barring some twist of fate, it looks like Republicans will auto-pilot to a Trump victory.