If Democrats in the House succeed in passing articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, there are more than enough Republicans in the Senate who would vote to remove Trump from office. However, the vote would have to be held in secret. At least, that’s what one former Republican senator, Arizona’s Jeff Flake, said on Thursday, as quoted by Fox News.
Speaking at the 2019 Texas Tribune Festival, Flake said that “at least 35” Senate Republicans would vote to convict Trump in a Senate trial, which would force Trump out of the White House. Flake was responding to comments the previous day by Republican political consultant Mike Murphy, who said in an MSNBC interview that, as The Inquisitr reported, he had been told by a current Republican senator that in a hypothetical secret ballot, 30 of the Senate’s 53 Republicans would vote to oust Trump.
“I heard someone say if there were a private vote there would be 30 Republican votes. That’s not true,” Flake said at the Texas Tribune event, according to Fox News. “There would be at least 35.”
Removal of a president from office by impeachment requires votes in both houses of Congress, as CNN explained. First, the House of Representatives must approve articles of impeachment — that is, charges against the president. Approval requires only a simple majority in the House. With 235 House Democrats, a majority of 218 now appears almost certain, if the process comes to a vote in the House.
Once the House approves articles of impeachment, the Senate then holds a trial, followed by a vote on whether or not to convict the president on each individual article, or charge. To convict, however, requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate — or 67 votes.
Democrats now hold 47 Senate seats, including two independents, and 53 are held by the GOP. Even if every Democrat and independent voted to convict, they would need to be joined by 20 Republicans. But if Flake is correct, those Republican votes would be there, plus 15 extra votes — except for one catch. The Senate vote would be public, with each Senator forced to go on the record as voting to convict — or to let Trump off the hook.
“There’s a lot of fear of what it means to go against the president, but most Republican senators would not like to be dealing with this for another year or another five years,” Flake said in a Friday interview with the WBUR Radio program Here & Now. “So yeah, a private vote would go a lot differently, but that doesn’t matter because that’s just a hypothetical.”