By Jon Dougherty
(TNS) Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri told reporters late Monday following a GOP Senate conference that he didn’t think there were enough votes to simply dismiss the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump passed by the House last month.
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That means, given the fact that there the GOP controls the chamber with 53 members, more than a couple of them would rather see this thing go to trial — despite the fact that one constitutional expert after another has proclaimed that the articles contain no violations of the law, thus not satisfying the Constitution’s “high crimes and misdemeanors” requirement.
“I think our members generally are not interested in a motion to dismiss…Certainly, there aren’t 51 votes for a motion to dismiss,” Blunt said.
Thus, if/when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi actually sends the two articles to the Senate — another constitutional requirement — it’s almost certain that a trial will be held.
As Red State notes, “Several Republicans have already expressed their opposition to a motion to dismiss including Sens. Susan Collins (ME) and Rob Portman (OH). Other likely candidates might include Sens. Lisa Murkowski (AK), Cory Gardner (CO) and Mitt Romney (UT).”
Right off the bat, President Trump signaled his support for a trial because he saw it as an opportunity to defend himself against bogus charges on a high-profile national stage.
But on Sunday he seemed to have changed his mind.
In a tweet, he wrote, “Many believe that by the Senate giving credence to a trial based on the no evidence, no crime, read the transcripts, ‘no pressure’ Impeachment Hoax, rather than an outright dismissal, it gives the partisan Democrat Witch Hunt credibility that it otherwise does not have. I agree!”
“I think he indicated consistently from the previous weeks that he thought he deserved an opportunity in a fair hearing to make his case, and I think that is ultimately what will happen,” Blunt said, asked about Trump’s tweet from over the weekend.
Far be it from us to second-guess the president’s instincts, but perhaps he’s simply getting conflicting opinions and advice. A trial would, in fact, be an opportunity to clear his name to a degree, and give him and his team an opportunity to address the articles in an open setting — not in the basement of the Capitol behind closed doors in lopsided proceedings run by the likes of Adam Schiff.
There could also be some #TrumpHate going on here. While there isn’t much chance of him being convicted and removed from office, we can’t help but think there are some Republican senators who relish the opportunity to see the president squirm somewhat. An actual trial would provide them with that perverse pleasure.
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That said, Senate Republicans are currently working on a rules resolution for the trial.
According to The Hill, some Senators “have suggested the resolution will not include a specific motion to dismiss. That would not, according to aides and senators, prevent a senator from trying to make a motion to dismiss during the trial. The resolution on the Clinton impeachment trial rules in the 1990s had a motion to dismiss built into it. The motion, made after opening arguments and questions from senators, was ultimately unsuccessful.”
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