Republicans in the U.S. Senate could be ready to impeach Donald Trump and have him removed from office — if they vote could be held in secret.
In an appearance on MSNBC on Wednesday, Republican insider Mike Murphy revealed that there is momentum within Trump’s own party to impeach him over reports that he pressured Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden’s family.
“One Republican senator told me if it was a secret vote, 30 Republican senators would vote to impeach Trump,” said Murphy, who had previously served as a top adviser to Mitt Romney and John McCain.
As NPR noted, Trump was the subject of a whistleblower complaint from a member of the U.S. intelligence community regarding his attempts to pressure Ukraine into investigating the business dealings of Hunter Biden, the son of the former vice president. On Wednesday, the White House released a summary of the phone call Trump held with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in which Trump pressed the issue.
“I would like you to do us a favor,” Trump asked Zelenskiy.
“I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation in Ukraine… There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that. So whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… it sounds horrible to me.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had already announced on Tuesday that a formal impeachment inquiry would begin, and Democrats have demanded access to the full whistleblower complaint, of which the phone call was reportedly only one piece. Before the July 25 phone call, Trump had withheld $400 million in military aid that was to be sent to Ukraine, which critics say was meant to pressure Ukraine into launching the Biden investigation.
While only a handful of Republicans have spoken out against Trump so far, there are signs that the U.S. Senate is breaking with the president on some key issues. On Wednesday, 11 Senate Republicans joined Democrats in voting to stop Trump from diverting military funds to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump had pressed Democrats to authorize the funding late last year, engineering a government shutdown when they would not give in, but later re-opened the government and said he would be declaring a state of emergency at the border that allowed him to divert funding earmarked for military projects.