Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is expected to hold a final vote to acquit President Donald Trump from his anticipated House impeachment, according to two GOP senators.
The move to acquit is one step beyond simply taking a vote to dismiss the articles of impeachment, the senators told CNN. One of the senators, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said McConnell would not call a vote on a motion to proceed to the impeachment articles unless he knew he had a simple majority of 51 votes to end the trial.
The Constitution requires 67 votes in the Senate to convict the president and remove him from office—a number of votes that is widely considered too high to achieve in the instance of President Trump.
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the second senator, suggested it would be more advantageous for Republicans to vote on the articles of impeachment than on a motion to dismiss or acquit.
McConnell has been mostly quiet on the matter and ambiguous on the rare occasions he has spoken about impeachment proceedings.
“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,” McConnell said on Tuesday. “Those are the options. No decisions have been made yet.”
This week, several senators on both sides of the aisle have indicated that the preference of most in the Senate is to not begin an impeachment trial until next year, regardless of how fast the House moves on its impending vote.
On Wednesday, several GOP senators said their preference would be to limit the trial and acquit Trump, rather than engaging in a prolonged trial with a parade of witnesses that could extend into weeks and months.
“I would say I don’t think the appetite is real high for turning this into a prolonged spectacle,” Senate Majority Whip John Thune of South Dakota, the chamber’s second-ranking Republican, told The Washington Post.
“Members want to deal with the arguments, hear the case and hopefully reach a conclusion,” Thune added.
However, as some political analysts have noted, senators are in a predicament in which they prefer a speedy trial, but they do not appear as if they are shirking their duties in the eyes of voters — particularly with several seats in jeopardy for 2020.
McConnell noted that calling many witnesses is bad for both Republicans and Democrats, referring to it as “mutually assured destruction.”
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, House Democrats have signaled that President Trump could be impeached a second time, should he win reelection in 2020.