Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) was one of only five Republican senators to vote to table Rand Paul’s motion to dismiss the impeachment trial of Trump as unconstitutional. He also insists he is keeping an open mind on whether or not to convict him:
Ben Sasse, Nebraska’s outspoken congressional critic of President Donald Trump, declined to say Wednesday which way he’s leaning in a second Senate impeachment trial.Sasse, who received more votes than the president last year in Nebraska, hinted at frustration with Trump, blaming the president’s “particular lie” for the Capitol riot, the lives lost and the resulting National Guard deployment. Sasse said Trump repeatedly lied about the results of the presidential race, saying he won the election “by a landslide” when he did not.
For his effrontery in adhering to the Constitution, the Nebraska Republican State Central Committee will consider censuring him at a meeting this Saturday for, among other things, accusing “the president of cozying up to dictators, mistreating women, flirting with white supremacists, and irresponsibly handling the corona virus pandemic.”
Just now, in his opening remarks, Trump’s defense counsel Bruce Castor called out Sen. Sasse and hinted that other Senators could be in his position if they showed less than total obesaince:
“The political party was complaining about a decision he made as a United States senator,” Castor said. “You know, it's interesting because I don't want to steal the thunder from the other lawyers, but Nebraska, you're going to hear, is quite a judicial thinking place, and just maybe Sen. Sasse is on to something. You'll hear about what it is that the Nebraska courts have to say about the issue that you all are deciding this week. There seem to be some pretty smart jurists in Nebraska and I can't believe that a United States senator doesn't know that. A senator like the gentleman from Nebraska whose Supreme Court history is ever present in his mind and rightfully so. He, he faces the whirlwind even though he knows what the judiciary in his state thinks.”
He continued: “People back home will demand their House members continue the cycle as political fortunes rise and fall.”
Press pool reports say that Sasse looked “befuddled” by this attack, and that nearby senators were confused.
I don’t see why they should be. Castor had spent much of his opening remarks (which I could only stand to listen to a little of) in, in Alan Dershowitz’s words, “buttering up” the senators:
“He may know the senators better than I do, maybe they want to be buttered up, maybe they want to be told what great people they are and how he knows two Senators, but it's not the kind of argument I would have made, I have to tell you that.”
Clearly, Castor was making this argument to the GOP senators: Be nice to Trump, or you’ll get what Sasse’s gonna get.