Republican senators are watching Trump’s indictment


When it comes to the prosecution trial this week, the Senate Republican Conference is ready to stay fairly united, with a handful of exceptions. After all, most Republicans indicated that they would not vote to condemn former President Donald Trump, while few indicated their openness to consider it.

In a vote on the constitutionality of the procedure a few weeks ago, five Republican senators joined the Democrats to confirm they believe the trial should be allowed to move forward. These legislators – Sens. Mitt Romney (R-UT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Ben Sasse (R-NE) – are likely to support the conviction.

However, the majority of the party argues that the lawsuit itself is either unconstitutional (with which most jurists disagree) or argues that Trump’s actions are not sufficient to hold him accountable. – I think I’m ready to move on. I am ready to conclude the indictment trial because I think it is clearly unconstitutional. , ”Said Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in a recent interview with CBS.

Unlike Graham, of the 45 Senate Republicans who voted to reject the trial for constitutional reasons, they indicated they wanted to hear the evidence before making a final decision. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that 17 Republicans will be convinced they will vote with the Democrats, a number needed to reach the 67-member threshold needed to convince Trump.

“The result really isn’t in doubt,” Graham remarked.

Nonetheless, leaders in the House’s accountability hope to move at least a few Republicans and use a combination of video and social media evidence to show how Trump incited the uprising in the Capitol on Jan. 6, an attack in which five people died. . The final votes on the condemnation show not only how convinced Republicans are by this argument, but also their willingness to publicly distance themselves from Trump.

Republicans are more likely to vote in favor of condemnation

The Republicans are most likely to be supported by the five people who voted in favor of the constitutionality of the trial, including those lawmakers who originally resigned after Trump’s resignation on Jan. 6. Their willingness to voice Trump’s criticism suggests that they may be open to using the trial to publicly oppose it, although their final votes on the matter are still in the air. Some of these senators are also considered more moderate members, and Toomey is among the lawmakers who will retire after this cycle.

In Trump’s first indictment trial, Romney was the only Republican to vote for Trump’s convictions and became the first member in history to accuse the president of his own party. This time, it’s possible that he could do the same – and join a few others.

So far, all five senators have been wary of proposing a final vote, arguing that they need to see what matters the managers – and Trump’s defense team are bringing. Here is what these five legislators have said so far:

Senator Mitt Romney: “Of course I’ll hear what the lawyers are saying from both sides.” But I think it’s perfectly clear that the effort is constitutional, ”Romney told CNN.

Senator Lisa Murkowski: “The House responded quickly and I believe, in an appropriate way, with accountability,” Murkowski said in a statement. “I will listen carefully and examine the arguments of both parties and then announce how I will vote.”

Senator Susan Collins: “I haven’t decided yet, I won’t judge the evidence during the court proceedings,” Collins told NECN.

Senator Pat Toomey: “I still think the best result would have been if the president had resigned,” Toomey told CNN. “I will listen to the arguments of both parties and make the decision they think is right.”

Senator Ben Sasse: “As a juror, I’m not announcing anything right now, and I’m going to limit myself to what I’m saying in advance, but let’s be clear about one thing completely: everything we’re dealing with here – the unrest, the loss of life, the prosecution, and now the fact that the U.S. Capitol was transformed into a barracks of federal troops for the first time since the Civil War – the result of a strange lie, ”Sasse said in a statement.

Republicans who vote for the verdict less often – but yes

According to the New York Times, there are about nine other Republicans alive who have not yet revealed how they will vote. They have all previously supported the rejection of the trial. These lawmakers may still be open to belief, but are less likely to vote for it, given their support for the negotiations themselves.

These nine representatives: Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Todd Young (R-IN), Mike Crapo (R -ID), Jim Risch (R-ID), Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Deb Fischer (R-NE). Several of them also indicated that they would weigh the evidence before issuing a final position, and some had questioned allegations of election fraud in the past, although it was unclear their willingness to hold Trump accountable for them.

McConnell, for example, had previously told sources close to him that the Times said it was an impeccable crime that Trump had committed to incite the uprising. He has not indicated how he will vote ever since, and he was among the Republicans who voted the trial unconstitutional.

– The trial has not yet begun. And I want to be a part of this and listen to the evidence, ”McConnell told reporters recently.

Allegedly, McConnell does not whip votes – and does not squeeze his members – to vote against the verdict.

Republicans who are completely opposed to the lawsuit

The majority of Republicans – roughly 36 years old – seem to have already decided how they will vote: Many dispute the constitutionality of the trial, others say Trump’s actions are not incriminating.

Since Trump is no longer in office, Republicans have raised concerns about the Senate’s ability to condemn a former president – and insist on that argument to support the dismissal. As experts have previously told the Vox, many Republican lawmakers remain wary of opposing Trump’s adherents and, as a result, threatening their own election prospects.

“The Senate has no constitutional authority to conduct prosecution proceedings against the former president,” Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) said earlier in a statement. “The founders designed the prosecution process to remove officials from public office, not to investigate individuals.”

As Vox Ian Millhiser explained, most jurists believe the trial is constitutional, although its precedent is vague: in 1876, a majority in the Senate decided to continue the trial against Secretary of Defense William Belknap, although he had already resigned – but was not convicted. , and many who refused to vote against it referred to the question of constitutionality.

In addition to the issue of constitutionality, some lawmakers, such as Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), have also questioned the extent of Trump’s responsibility for the Jan. 6 attack, as Zeeshan Aleem writes to the Vox. Others have argued that Trump’s months-long lie over election fraud and his speech calling for supporters to march to the Capitol do not hold him responsible for the storm that occurred. (The opposite of this argument is that several of Trump’s supporters drew attention to his rhetoric that they had arrived in Washington DC and participated in the uprising.)

Democrats, meanwhile, have emphasized that encouraging accountability is about ensuring the president is accountable for his role. They also noted that a vote would be held to ban him from the federal office if the required 67 members of the Senate were convicted.

“Senators need to look deep into their consciences and determine if Donald Trump is guilty, and if so, they should ever be able to enjoy an honorary, trusting, or beneficial office position in the United States,” Chuck Schumer said. , head of the majority of the senate.