CNN is reporting on behind-the-scenes efforts to line up enough Senators to convict Trump in next week’s impeachment trial:
As the House prepares to send articles of impeachment to the Senate on Monday, CNN has learned that dozens of influential Republicans around Washington — including former top Trump administration officials — have been quietly lobbying GOP members of Congress to impeach and convict Donald Trump. The effort is not coordinated but reflects a wider battle inside the GOP between those loyal to Trump and those who want to sever ties and ensure he can never run for President again.
What is driving this appears to be the failed putsch on the 6th. Once again, Trump has been his own worst enemy (as well as being everyone else’s). Additionally, Moscow Mitch has gotten what he wanted from Trump — judges and lower taxes — and sees him now as more of a liability than anything else.
“Mitch said to me he wants Trump gone,” one Republican member of Congress told CNN. “It is in his political interest to have him gone. It is in the GOP interest to have him gone. The question is, do we get there?”
Equally important is that Republican power brokers outside the Senate are lobbying for a conviction:The lobbying effort has included behind-the-scenes pressure by Republican donors, calls from former top Trump White House officials, and a set of talking points circulating among Republicans arguing for Trump’s impeachment.The 9-point memo charges that “it is difficult to find a more anti-conservative outburst by a U.S. president than Donald Trump the last two months.” Other points include that Trump “urged supporters from across the nation to come to Washington, DC, to disrupt” Congress on January 6 and egged on the crowd, which was “widely understood to include people who were planning to fight physically, and who were prepared to die in response to his false claims of a ‘stolen election.”The memo goes on to point out Trump “tweeted and made other statements against the Vice President as the Secret Service was being forced to rush Mike Pence out of the Senate chamber and into a protective bunker.” It’s unclear how widely disseminated the memo is among Republicans in Washington.
McConnell had tried to delay the trial until February, ostensibly to give Trump time to prepare his defense — though as the Speaker retorted, Trump has had exactly as much time to prepare as the House managers have. And it seems Trump is finally taking this impeachment seriously; he’s managed to find a lawyer willing to represent him whose hair dye won’t stain the Senate floor.
I wonder now if McConnell wanted more time to twist some Senators’ arms. He certainly doesn’t seem worried about threats from Ron Johnson (Idiot-WI) that voting to convict could cost him his position as minority leader.
The consensus among the Republicans who spoke to CNN is that McConnell’s decision on conviction will sway others. On Tuesday, in his most forceful comments yet, McConnell tied Trump’s actions to the attack itself during a speech on the Senate floor.“The mob was fed lies,” McConnell said. “They were provoked by the President and other powerful people. And they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like. But we pressed on.”Since he is known as restrained and deliberate, McConnell’s words gave hope to Republicans who would like the party to split from Trump.
I hesitate to say how much of this is McConnell’s respect for the institution and anger over its invasion. I’d like to think that he has some, even now. But if nothing else, he is angry at the physical threat to him personally, and if that moves him to help make Trump responsible for his actions, I’ll take it.