McConnell plans for trial amid Dem defections – WND

McConnell plans for trial amid Dem defections – WND.

Senate Republicans could simply dismiss charges against President Trump with 51 votes, but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is planning a trial in which the president will be acquitted, according to two senators who spoke to CNN.

The Constitution requires 67 votes to convict the president and remove him from office.

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McConnell would not call a vote on a motion to proceed to the impeachment articles without securing the 51 votes needed to end the trial, said a senator who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity. That would set up a final vote on the articles.

The other senator, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, said a vote on the articles of impeachment, with a 67-vote threshold, “would make more sense” than a motion to dismiss and “decide this on a 51-vote threshold, with the potential tie and all the recriminations that would flow from that.”

McConnell told reporters Tuesday the Senate has two options after hearing opening arguments from the House impeachment managers and the president’s defense counsel.

“It could go down the path of calling witnesses and basically having another trial or it could decide – and again, 51 members could make that decision – that they’ve heard enough and believe they know what would happen and could move to vote on the two articles of impeachment,” he said. “Those are the options. No decisions have been made yet.”

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Meanwhile, House Democratic leaders are bracing for defections among the 31 members in districts Trump won in 2016.

The Washington Post reported Democratic lawmakers and senior aides are privately predicting they will lose more than the two Democrats who voted against the impeachment inquiry in late September.

Two senior Democratic aides told the Post the total could be as many as a half-dozen. A third said the number could be higher.

A group of about 10 Democrats in districts won by Trump is floating the longshot idea of censuring the president, according to lawmakers who spoke to Politico.

The moderate Democrats huddled Monday afternoon in a last-minute bid to present other options to their leadership.

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The House Judiciary Committee is preparing to vote Thursday on an article of impeachment charging Trump with abuse of power and another on obstruction of Congress. The Democrats claim Trump used the threat of withholding aid to pressure Ukraine to cooperate with Attorney General William Barr in an investigation of Hunter Biden’s lucrative position with a corrupt Ukraine natural gas company while his father was President Obama’s point man for Ukraine policy. Republicans argue the aid went through, Ukrainian officials said they weren’t pressured and the State Department acknowledged Hunter Biden’s position was an apparent conflict of interest.

The obstruction charge is for blocking testimony from witnesses and ignoring requests for documents in the impeachment inquiry. The White House argues executive privilege, pointing out it’s up to the third branch of government, the judiciary, to resolve such disputes.

The full House would vote next week on the articles of impeachment.

Democratic Rep. Susie Lee, from a Nevada district Trump won in 2016, said she’s “still thinking it over.”

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“This is a very grave decision,” she told the Post. “I’m hearing all sides of it. … It’s mixed, it’s very mixed.”

With 233 Democrats and 197 Republicans and one independent in the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi can lose 17 members of her Democratic Party and still impeach the president.

The wrath of constituents

One of the 31 House Democrats in districts won by Trump in 2016 already has faced the wrath of constituents who oppose the effort to impeach the president.

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At a public meeting, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., told constituents the allegations against Trump are “incredibly serious.”

One constituent shot back with “incredible bulls***t.”

“It’s crap,” he said of the Democrats’ allegations.

The freshman lawmaker represents Virginia’s 7th congressional district, which Trump won by 6% in 2016.

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Recent polling shows Democrats have lost support for impeachment since they began holding public hearings last month.

Impeachment is helping the president in the key battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, according to a new poll.

The previous quarterly polling by the Republican firm Firehouse Strategies had Trump struggling in those states, Axios reported Monday. But the latest poll shows him beating every Democrat in the race.

Trump won by an average of 6 percentage points in hypothetical match-ups against all current Democratic candidates.

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The poll also found that a majority of likely 2020 voters do not support impeaching and removing Trump from office.

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