by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Republican voters’ overwhelming opposition to impeachment and aggressive maneuvering by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are conspiring to deliver President Trump a unanimous GOP vote of acquittal at his trial in the Senate.
That Senate Republicans are on track to acquit Trump and shield him from expulsion was not in doubt as the trial adjudicating two articles of impeachment opened on Tuesday. But, as House Democratic prosecutors and the White House defense team began litigating charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, McConnell’s push for unity and grassroots loyalty to Trump were moving Senate Republicans behind the scenes toward unanimous acquittal.
“It wouldn’t surprise me to have all 53 Republicans” acquit, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri told the Washington Examiner. “If we’re voting based on the evidence, I think, clearly, we vote to acquit.”
Since Dec. 18, when House Democrats impeached Trump on a near party-line vote, new revelations emerged about White House dealings with Ukraine that might further substantiate allegations against the president. The information has not swayed most Senate Republicans, who, before hearing arguments in the well of the chamber, had confidently concluded that the case against Trump was flimsy.