With Republicans holding a 53-47 majority in the Senate and showing no real signs of turning against Donald Trump in the impeachment inquiry against the president, the possibility that the Senate would vote to remove him if he is impeached by the House appears remote, or even impossible. This was pointed out in a column from USA Today‘s Jenny Beth Martin earlier this week.
While the House needs only a majority vote to pass articles of impeachment, the Senate would need to hold a trial and then vote to “convict” Trump by a two-thirds majority in order to remove the president from office, according to the process outlined in the United States Constitution. That means 20 Republicans would need to turn against Trump and vote with all 47 Democrats in the Senate to win a conviction against the president — a prospect that seems highly unlikely.
However, that might not be the case after all. According to an op-ed essay published Friday in The Washington Post, “this conventional wisdom is wrong,” and the chance that the Senate will, in fact, vote to remove Trump from office is “more likely than most observers will admit.”
As pointed out by the author, Lawfare Institute Chief Operating Officer and former CIA officer David Priess, Republican criticism of Trump over his sudden decision to allow Turkey to attack the Kurdish people in Syria while U.S. troops stand down has shown Senate Republicans that vocally opposing Trump “doesn’t have to be political suicide.”
While in U.S. history, the Senate has taken only two impeachment trial votes, and both have failed, those earlier examples differ from the current case against Trump, Priess argues. In the first impeachment trial, which involved the 17th U.S. president, Andrew Johnson, several of the articles of impeachment involved such offenses as delivering speeches, as The Inquisitr reported, “with a loud voice,” and regaling members of Congress with “intemperate, inflammatory, and scandalous harangues.”
Even though Johnson’s manner was offensive, it “fell very well short of warranting immediate ejection from the presidency,” Priess wrote, noting that even so, Johnson survived his impeachment trial by just a single vote.
In the second case, the 1998 impeachment President Bill Clinton, the Senate vote to convict fell short “largely because his violations of law were intended to cover up a personal affair, not a matter of state,” Priess added.
Those factors — and the fact that Trump is not a conventional Republican and is believed to be widely despised in private by some GOP senators — show that the Senate could quickly turn against Trump, according to Priess.