It seems pretty much a given that Articles of Impeachment will be drafted against President Trump in the House. However, it is also just as likely that he will not be convicted and removed from office in the Republican dominated Senate.
However, some political experts are predicting that while Trump will stay, the GOP majority in the Senate could be a victim of the fallout from an impeachment trial. Democrats are targeting President Trump. What they may get instead is the Senate, and could this really be their plan all along?
According to David M. Drucker, writing for the Washington Examiner, here is how and why this can play out.
In a Senate trial to adjudicate articles of impeachment sent up by the House, “at least a handful of vulnerable Senate Republicans risk the wrath of grassroots conservatives if they vote to convict and remove Trump from office. The same group, staring down impeachment with the 2020 primary season drawing near, could just as easily alienate general election voters with a vote to acquit the president,” writes Drucker.
He goes on to say that while Trump is unlikely to be convicted by the Senate, some Republicans will be tempted to support it.
“The House makes the articles of impeachment; we sit as a jury,” Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley told reporters Monday. “There isn’t any way you’re going to know how that plays out until it’s part of public discussion.”
As of the most recent polls, Republican voters are heavily against impeachment. Democrats are strongly in favor, and independents are leaning supportive. It is that dynamic that could squeeze Republican incumbents up for reelection in battleground states, forcing them to choose between appeasing a feverishly pro-Trump GOP base or distancing themselves from an unpopular president to appeal to swing voters and soft partisans. Among them are Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado, Susan Collins of Maine, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Joni Ernst of Iowa, and Martha McSally of Arizona.
“They were all going to have tough races to begin with, and Trump isn’t making it any easier on them,” said a Republican strategist, who requested anonymity in order to speak candidly.
Republicans Senators Will Be Bound By the Rules
Under Senate rules, Republicans during a trial would be severely limited from running interference for Trump. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts would preside and hold significant power over motions, and that could present more problems for Republicans. Republicans could find themselves fending off accusations from the Right that they are abetting the Democrats if the trial goes poorly for the president.
“Senators don’t have an active role. The rules mandate that we sit silently,” Sen. Josh Hawley told the Washington Examiner. The Missouri Republican conceded that there would be virtually nothing he or his GOP colleagues could do to overturn rulings made by Roberts that might damage Trump. “It will be strange and it will be hard,” he said.