Republican senators are wrestling over what they want their party’s future relationship with Donald Trump to be after he leaves office on Wednesday.
Faced with a deeply divided Senate Republican Conference, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is giving his colleagues free rein to vote their conscience when the Senate tries Trump on charges that he incited an insurrection.
McConnell is telling colleagues that he himself hasn’t decided whether to vote to convict Trump on a House-passed article of impeachment and associates describe the GOP leader “as furious” over that attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.ADVERTISEMENT
The New York Times reported that McConnell has told associates that he sees the impeachment effort as a way for the Republican Party to break with Trump, although the GOP leader later discounted what he called “speculation” in the press.
A Senate vote to convict Trump would need at least 17 Republican votes to be successful, if all 50 Democratic senators vote to convict. A second vote could be held to prevent Trump from running for office again. That would require a simple Senate majority.
While a good number of Republican senators would like to break free of what they see as the destabilizing and often erratic leadership of Trump, Republican strategists and aides warn there is a serious political risk to banning him from future political office.
“I don’t think it’s an easy call, but I think there would be a lot more Republican support evident if it were not linked to the Democrats’ clear desire to prevent him from running for office ever again,” said Vin Weber, a Republican strategist. “That’s the real question politically.
“A lot of people in both parties who want Trump just gone think, ‘That’s good, we’ll just get rid of Trump. He can’t run again,’ ” he added.
But he cautioned the “hardcore Trump people, which probably means a majority of the Republican voters, still view Trump as their leader [and] they view the election as stolen.”ADVERTISEMENT
“If we take the step of banning Trump from running again, they’re not going to say anything’s been stolen. They’re simply going to say the power structure of the country has prevented our leader from running again and they’ll be right,” he added. “You’ve created an impossible situation in terms of trying to soften the divisions a little bit in the country and soften the vote on the hardcore pro-Trump side.”
Some Republicans are already using that as a justification to oppose impeachment.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), an influential member of the Senate GOP conference who led the effort to put together a Republican police reform bill last year, warned that impeaching Trump would undercut efforts to promote national unity after the strife of 2020.
“An impeachment vote will only lead to more hate and a deeply fractured nation,” he said, arguing that convicting Trump would “fly in direct opposition to what President-elect Joe Biden has been calling for all year.”
At the same time, outrage has mounted within the Senate Republican Conference as new details about last week’s attack on Congress emerge.
Federal prosecutors said in a court filing Friday that they had “strong evidence” the rioters who breached the Capitol intended “to capture and assassinate elected officials,” including Vice President Pence.
That revelation sparked outrage from Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), an influential conservative who may run for president in 2024.
“These men weren’t drunks who got rowdy — they were terrorists attacking this country’s constitutionally-mandated transfer of power. They failed, but they came dangerously close to starting a bloody constitutional crisis. They must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Sasse said in a statement.
Trump’s plummeting popularity, his words of encouragement to a crowd of supporters before the storming of the Capitol last week and his debunked and unsubstantiated claims that the 2020 election was stolen has GOP senators looking for a way to decisively break with the outgoing president.
A small group of Republican senators has signaled they are open to voting to convict Trump for inciting the crowd.
“I believe that this president has committed an impeachable offense through his words on the sixth of January, and leading up to the sixth of January, when he was not honest to the American people about the election and the election results,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told KTUU, an Alaskan news channel.
Sasse and Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) have also either said Trump committed impeachable offenses or blamed him for inciting the mob that stormed the Capitol.ADVERTISEMENT
But Republican aides say Democrats won’t get 17 GOP senators to vote to convict Trump after he leaves office.
“It’s an opportunity to purge Trump, yes. I don’t know there are 17 votes to do so. This is more of an opportunity for the Democrats to continue to try to destroy the Republican Party. What the Democrats have very successfully done is politicize impeachment with no hearings, no process in the House,” said a Senate GOP aide.
The aide predicted that Trump’s legal team will respond on the Senate floor with statements and videos by Democratic politicians urging their supporters to “fight” and expressing sympathy to the Black Lives Matter protests last year, which resulted in property destruction and deaths in several cities.
Already Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who has been called on by several Democratic colleagues to resign because of his role in opposing the final tally of electoral votes for Biden, is pointing to Democrats’ support for the summer protests.
Some Republicans such as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) will try to sidestep the question of whether Trump committed impeachable offenses by arguing that impeachment does not apply to a private citizen, which is what Trump will be by the time the Senate trial begins.
“The Founders designed the impeachment process as a way to remove officeholders from public office— not an inquest against private citizens,” he said in a statement.ADVERTISEMENT
There’s also growing uncertainty whether Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will even send the House-passed article of impeachment to the Senate this month as doing so would force a trial to begin immediately, which would stall work on the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief proposal Biden unveiled Thursday and hang up confirmation of his Cabinet nominees.
The Republican aide said Republicans are not likely to give Democrats consent to work on a coronavirus relief bill and confirm Biden’s nominees while the trial is going on, which means the incoming president’s agenda could be stalled for weeks.
Some Democrats are already balking at putting the Senate on pause for as long two weeks to a month to conduct an impeachment trial.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), an influential centrist, says holding a Senate trial after Trump leaves office “doesn’t make any common sense whatsoever.”
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said Friday his priority is to move a relief package and Biden’s nominees before holding a trial to convict an ex-president.
The Senate trial could not begin before 1 p.m. on Jan. 20, after Trump is out of office, because the upper chamber is in a recess until Tuesday.
Trump to claim he is ‘presumptive 2024 nominee,’ leader of GOP in CPAC speech: report
Former president Donald Trump will claim he is the leader of the Republican party and its “presumptive 2024 nominee” when he makes his first public appearance since leaving office during the Conservative Political Action Conference next weekend in Orlando, according to a report.
A longtime Trump adviser told Axios his CPAC speech will be a “show of force,” and said the message will be: “I may not have Twitter or the Oval Office, but I’m still in charge.” The source reportedly added that “payback is his chief obsession.”
Trump’s advisers will reportedly meet with him at Mar-a-Lago this week to plan his next political moves, and to set up the framework for kingmaking in the 2022 midterm elections.
According to Axios, Trump is expected to go after the 10 House Republicans who voted to convict him in his impeachment trial, spurred by the Jan. 6 riot at the U. S. Capitol, and the seven GOP Senators who voted with Democrats to convict.
Trump was acquitted, with 57 senators voting for his conviction — short of the required two-thirds majority — and 43 voting against conviction.
He also reportedly plans to argue in the CPAC speech that many of his predictions about President Biden have already come true.
“Trump effectively is the Republican Party,” Trump senior adviser Jason Miller told Fox News. “The only chasm is between Beltway insiders and grassroots Republicans around the country. When you attack President Trump, you’re attacking the Republican grassroots.”
Trump has found support from state Republican officials who censured some members of Congress who voted against him. Meanwhile, his leadership PAC, Save America, has $75 million on hand to help set up primary challenges to sitting Republicans who went against him, as well as a database of tens of millions of names.
A Suffolk University/ USA Today poll found that 46% of Trump supporters would abandon the Republican Party and join a Trump party should he decide to create one, versus 27% who would stay with the GOP.
Half of the individuals polled said the Republican Party should become “more loyal to Trump,” even if it means losing support from establishment Republicans, versus 19% saying the party should become less loyal to Trump and more aligned with establishment Republicans.
The survey of 1,000 Trump voters, identified from 2020 polls, was taken by landline and cellphone last Monday through Friday. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
Pelosi claims Trump is ‘accessory’ to murder because he ‘instigated’ deadly violence at US Capitol
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed Tuesday that outgoing President Donald Trump could be held criminally liable for the deadly violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Pelosi already led a successful second effort to impeach Trump last week, officially charging him with “incitement of insurrection.” But speaking on MSNBC, Pelosi said Trump could be deemed an “accessory” to murder for the deaths that occurred, in the view of many Trump critics, due to Trump’s rhetoric surrounding the integrity of the election.
During her interview, show host Joy Reid asked Pelosi how Congress can move forward with Trump allies still seated, especially representatives who supported Trump’s claims of a “stolen” or “rigged” election.
“We have security beyond what anybody ever thought would be the need. And why? Because this president has been telling people that the election was not legitimate and these people believe him, they believe a president,” Pelosi began.
“A president’s words are important, they weigh a ton,” Pelosi continued. “And if you’re Donald Trump talking to these people, they believe it and they used his words to come here. So, when we talk about ‘did any of our colleagues collaborate?’ Well, that remains to be seen. We have to get the evidence of that.”
“And if they did, they would be accessory to the crime. And the crime, in some cases, was murder,” Pelosi said. “And this president is an accessory to that crime because he instigated that insurrection that caused those deaths and this destruction.”
District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine admitted Sunday that his office could criminally charge Trump for his role in the Capitol violence.
In fact, Racine explained on MSNBC that Trump could be charged with “a misdemeanor, a six-month-in-jail maximum.”
“Let it be known that the office of attorney general has a potential charge that it may utilize,” Racine said. “It’s law in DC since 2011. It makes illegal the statements of individuals that clearly encourage, cajole, and otherwise, you know, get people motivated to commit violence.”
Racine added that Trump’s “conduct prior to the mob storming the Capitol is relevant. I think his conduct during that time and immediately thereafter is also relevant.”
However, no prosecutor, either within D.C. or federally, has indicated they will pursue criminal charges against Trump.
Clinton & Pelosi Suggest Trump Was Following Putin’s Orders To Allow Capitol Siege
In a conversation that sounds like two demented Q Anon members, Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi suggested that President Trump instigated the Capitol siege at the behest of Vladimir Putin.
Two time failed Presidential candidate Hillary wheeled out Pelosi on her “podcast”, and the two soon began to spout their familiar conspiracy theories.
“We learned a lot about our system of government over the last four years with a president who disdains democracy and, as you have said numerous times, has other agendas,” Clinton blathered.
“What they all are, I don’t think we yet know. I hope historically we will find out who he’s beholden to, who pulls his strings,” she continued, adding “I would love to see his phone records to see whether he was talking to Putin the day that the insurgents invaded our Capitol.”
She then said that Trump’s “enablers,” “accomplices,” and “cult members” were behind the rioting.
Clinton asked Pelosi “Do you think we need a 9/11-type commission to investigate and report everything that they can pull together and explain what happened?”
Pelosi responded “I do,” and claimed she told Trump that “With you, Mr. President, all roads lead to Putin.”
“And these people, unbeknownst to them, maybe, are Putin puppets. They were doing Putin’s business when they did that at the incitement of an insurrection by the president of the United States,” Pelosi proclaimed, adding “So yes, we should have a 9/11 commission, and there is strong support in the Congress to do that.”
Q was right! In this world exclusive Alex Jones breaks down how President Trump will institute a final move and arrest all the globalist and assume a 2nd term.
So another three year waste of time and money chasing some Putin conspiracy?
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