Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said on Thursday that the Republican Party does not have the votes necessary to immediately dismiss any articles of impeachment passed by the House of Representatives against President Donald Trump, reports The Hill.
Cornyn, who is also an adviser to Senate Republican leadership, explained that an immediate and swift dismissal of impeachment articles against the president is not likely to happen given that such a maneuver would require 51 votes; the GOP holds 53 seats in the Senate.
“There’s some people talking about trying to stop the bill, dismiss charges basically as soon as they get over here. I think that’s not going to happen,” Cornyn said.
“I think it would be hard to find 51 votes to cut the case off before the evidence is presented,” the senator added.
Even if the Democratic-controlled House votes to impeach Trump, Cornyn opined, the Senate should hold a trial, and “let each side have their say” before making a decision.
“In the end, we need to have a process that the American people think was fair,” he said.
According to Cornyn, the president’s defense team has not suggested that it would be good to dismiss articles of impeachment without holding a trial.
Furthermore, the senator added, dismissing articles of impeachment would not “clear the slate” of allegations against Trump, so the GOP should hold a trial.
As The Hill notes, a conviction would require 67 votes, which means that 20 Republicans would have to vote for it, which remains highly unlikely given that the vast majority of GOP lawmakers in both chambers of Congress has remained loyal to the commander-in-chief.
Other Senate Republicans have also signaled opposition to dismissing articles of impeachment, arguing that a trial is necessary.
Notably, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday that the upper chamber “has no choice” but to hold a trial, citing longstanding rules pertaining to the impeachment process.
Not all Republicans agree with Cornyn and McConnell, however. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul recently argued that the best course of action would be to immediately “dismiss” impeachment.
Trump is being accused of leveraging the power of his office to damage a political opponent’s campaign. According to an anonymous whistleblower, the president used the power of his office to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
According to House Democrats, the president committed impeachable offenses during his contacts with Ukraine. Legal experts, such as Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe, have argued that the president’s actions amount to extortion and bribery.