Politics The 7 Republican senators who voted to convict former President Donald Trump explain their rationale
These GOP Senators Are Democrats' Best Bet to Vote for a Trump Conviction
Senate Democrats aren't likely to get 17 Republicans on board to convict the former president, but they could get a few.A month after 10 House Republicans voted to impeach Trump, the former president's trial is set to begin in the Senate. While a conviction won't have an immediate impact on Trump, as he's already left office, it could bar him from ever holding office again, dashing any hope for a potential 2024 run against President Joe Biden.
Donald Trump's second impeachment trial came to an end Saturday with 57 senators voting to, falling short of the two-thirds margin required to find him guilty of the charge of “incitement of insurrection” in connection with the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol that resulted in five deaths. Seven GOP senators broke with their party — voting along with all 48 Democrats and both independents in the body.
After the 57-43 vote, the Republicans who defied Trump explained their decision.
Richard Burr, North Carolina
“The facts are clear,” Burr said in aafter the vote. “The President promoted unfounded conspiracy theories to cast doubt on the integrity of a free and fair election because he did not like the results. As Congress met to certify the election results, the President directed his supporters to go to the Capitol to disrupt the lawful proceedings required by the Constitution. When the crowd became violent, the President used his office to first inflame the situation instead of immediately calling for an end to the assault.”
Why a conviction in Trump’s second impeachment trial is so unlikely
A look at the composition of the Republican Senate caucus. The math is fairly simple in the abstract. Conviction requires a two-thirds majority of the Senate to agree — 67 votes — meaning that 17 of the 50 Republican senators would need to agree with the charge offered in the House’s article of impeachment. That article passed the House on a historically bipartisan vote, with 10 Republicans joining the Democratic majority in supporting it. But that’s only about 5 percent of the party caucus in the House, the equivalent of two Republican senators joining the Democrats in the Senate vote. Two, as you’re probably aware, is fewer than 17.
Burr originally voted that the trial was unconstitutional, but said in his statement that “the Senate is an institution based on precedent, and given that the majority of the Senate voted to proceed with this trial, the question of constitutionality is now established precedent."
He has already announced he will not be running for reelection in 2022.
Bill Cassidy, Louisiana
Cassidy said in a succinctstatement Saturday that he had voted to convict Trump “because he is guilty.”
“Our Constitution and our country is more important than any one person,” he said.
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"Fear has been motivating them," the Democratic lawmaker said of her GOP colleagues.In a vote forced by Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, on January 26, a great majority of GOP senators voted to say they view the second impeachment trial of Trump as "unconstitutional" because he is no longer in office. Just five Republicans voted along with the Democrats to affirm the trial's constitutionality, far below the 17 GOP votes necessary for a conviction of the former president.
Susan Collins, Maine
Earlier this week, Collins, who won reelection in November, said she was “perplexed” by the performance of Trump attorney Bruce Castor.
“He did not seem to make any arguments at all, which was an unusual approach to take,” she said.
After she voted to acquit Trump last year at his first impeachment trial,“the president has learned from this case. The president has been impeached. That's a pretty big lesson."
On Saturday, Collins voted to convict and offered aof the former president.
“Instead of preventing a dangerous situation, President Trump created one. And rather than defend the constitutional transfer of power, he incited an insurrection with the purpose of preventing that transfer of power from occurring," she said.
Video: Impeachment managers after vote to acquit: We have shown Trump is 'disgrace to our country' (MSNBC)
The final day of the Trump impeachment trial was shaped by McConnell, Democrats, and breakaway GOP senators
Democrats sought to use the image of duress under the Capitol dome to influence enough GOP lawmakers to put aside their natural political instincts.For the Democratic House impeachment managers, led by Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the crux of their argument contended that only accountability can deter deadly political violence in the future. Democrats reinforced that concept by playing never-before-seen video and radio transcripts from the fateful day of January 6 when rioting insurrectionists stormed the Capitol.
Lisa Murkowski, Alaska
Murkowski, who is up for reelection in 2022,after the vote Saturday that she’s not concerned with facing political consequences for her vote to convict.
“If I can’t say what I believe that our president should stand for, then why should I ask Alaskans to stand with me? This was consequential on many levels, but I cannot allow the significance of my vote to be devalued by whether or not I feel that this is helpful for my political ambitions,” she said.
On Friday, Murkowski and Collinsa key question to Trump’s counsel: Exactly when did Trump learn of the breach at the Capitol, and what specific actions did he take to bring the rioting to an end? Trump’s counsel seemed to avoid the question, telling the senators there had been “no investigation into that.”
Asked about the answer to her question, Murkowski said it “wasn’t very responsive.”
Lisa Murkowski on how the Trump team answered her question with Collins. “I was like wait a minute that wasn’t very responsive.” They asked what Trump did when he learned about the riot.
Two Republicans who voted for Trump’s conviction were immediately censured
Bill Cassidy and Richard Burr are in trouble back home.The LAGOP and NCGOP each quickly censured Cassidy and Burr for their votes. In a statement posted to Twitter, the LAGOP wrote that it “condemn[s], in the strongest possible terms, the vote today by Sen. Cassidy to convict former President Trump,” while NCGOP Chair Michael Whatley released a statement denouncing Burr’s vote as “shocking and disappointing.— Manu Raju (@mkraju)
The senator said Wednesday that the House impeachment managers “made a very strong case” and that the evidence presented was “pretty damning,” NBC.
Mitt Romney, Utah
Romney was the only Republican to vote to convict Trump following his first impeachment trial last year. After the vote on Saturday, the senator said in athat he believed Trump was guilty of inciting the insurrection and added that the former president “attempted to corrupt the election by pressuring the Secretary of State of Georgia to falsify the election results in his state.”
“President Trump also violated his oath of office by failing to protect the Capitol, the Vice President, and others in the Capitol. Each and every one of these conclusions compels me to support conviction,” his statement said.
Ben Sasse, Nebraska
Sasse, one of the few GOP senators who were not directly opposed to the impeachment trial, said in a statement Saturday that the former president had repeated lies about the election, such as the false claim that he won by a landslide, and used those lies to summon his supporters to the Capitol on Jan. 6.
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While national GOP leaders are projecting unity, some state GOP leaders are condemning Republican senators who voted to convict Trump.Most of the seven GOP senators who voted “guilty” are unlikely to face meaningful repercussions in their home states — which undoubtedly factored into some if not all of their decisions.
“Those lies had consequences,” thesaid, “endangering the life of the vice president and bringing us dangerously close to a bloody constitutional crisis.”
Sasse’s support of the former president waned long before the November election, and the Omaha World-Herald reported that he facesfrom Nebraska Republicans over his lack of support for Trump.
Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania
In areleased after his vote, Toomey said, “President Trump summoned thousands to Washington, D.C. and inflamed their passion by repeating disproven allegations about widespread fraud. He urged the mob to march on the Capitol for the explicit purpose of preventing Congress and the Vice President from formally certifying the results of the presidential election. All of this to hold on to power despite having legitimately lost.”
“I was one of the 74 million Americans who voted for President Trump, in part because of the many accomplishments of his administration,” Toomey continued. “Unfortunately, his behavior after the election betrayed the confidence millions of us placed in him. His betrayal of the Constitution and his oath of office required conviction.”
Toomey has already announced he will not be running for reelection in 2022.
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