Speaking anonymously, several Republican senators have reportedly told The Hill that only five or six Republicans are likely to vote to convict Donald Trump in his impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate, well below the estimated 17 Republican votes that are needed in order to convict.
Since Trump's impeachment last week for his alleged incitement of insurrection of the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6., there has been much speculation on whether or not GOP senators will turn on the former president. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who many believe could have the greatest influence on the trial, has yet to announce his intentions regarding the vote.
Despite public outrage from many Republicans following the violence at the Capitol, it looks like the party would rather move on than convict Trump, with one GOP senator reportedly telling The Hill that Trump did himself a favor by not pardoning anyone involved in the storming of the Capitol.
“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 unnamed senator reportedly said.
Republicans are also concerned about Trump’s supporters' reactions following calls for Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) to resign after she voted to impeach Trump last week. A second anonymous senator explained that if many Republicans were to vote to convict Trump, it would make it difficult for the GOP to count on Trump’s supporters voting for the party in the 2022 midterm elections and into the 2024 presidential election.
“The Republican Party is going to have to have a discussion about its future. At some point it’s going to have to become about something more than a person,” the lawmaker said, saying there's also a question about the constitutionality of convicting a non-sitting president.
“That’s my sense of where most of our members are going to come down,” the senator added.
Democrats have stated that a major reason for impeaching and convicting Trump, a now private citizen, is largely to bar him from running for president ever again.
Republican senators believe their fellow party members that will vote to convict Trump are likely those who have publicly blamed Trump for inciting the mob that stormed the Capitol or have stated that he committed impeachable offenses, including Sens. Ben Sasse (R-NE), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Susan Collins (R-ME).
McConnell has proposed delaying the start of the impeachment trial until mid-February in order to give Trump’s legal team time to prepare themselves and submit their pre-trial brief. On Friday it was announced that the Senate would receive the impeachment article on Monday, Jan. 25.