Few GOP Senators Expected to Vote to Convict Trump
Only a few Republicans are expected to vote to convict former President Donald Trump in a Senate impeachment trial, even if there are some party members who remain angry over his actions surrounding the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, according to party sources.
"I'd say certainly less than 10 and I'd say five or six is probably about right," a Republican senator said, speaking anonymously to The Hill.
However, a two-thirds majority vote would be necessary to convict Trump, meaning that at least 17 Republican senators would need to vote against him even if all of the chamber's Democrats vote for a conviction.
One factor in Trump's favor is that he did not pardon anyone charged with participating in the Capitol riot, another GOP senator, speaking under conditions of anonymity, told The Hill.
"I thought if he pardoned people who had been part of this invasion of the Capitol, that would have pushed the number higher because that would have said, 'These are my guys,'" the senator said.
A political backlash from Trump supporters is also a concern, following the calls for House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., to resign after her vote to impeach the former president.
Yet another senator told The Hill that the Republican Party will need to rebuild and warned that if senators vote to convict Trump, it will be difficult to bring his base into the party before the 2022 midterm elections and the 2024 presidential election.
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Thursday proposed delaying the trial's start until mid-February to allow Trump's legal team time to submit its pre-trial brief. He also asked House impeachment managers to wait until Jan. 28 to deliver the single article of impeachment against the president.
There are also constitutional questions over whether a former president can be convicted under impeachment, and about whether Chief Justice John Roberts will preside over the trial.
If he doesn't preside, that will leave Vice President Kamala Harris or President Pro Tempore Pat Leahy, D-Vt., to preside over the proceedings, making it appear even more like a partisan exercise.