Former President Donald Trump will be the first president in American history to face a Senate impeachment trial after he has left office and Democrats seem bent on making sure that they secure a conviction, unlike their failed, previous attempt.
According to the Daily Caller, even though Democrats now have majority control of the 50-50 split in the upper chamber thanks to the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris, a number of Republicans will still need to join their side and the pressure is mounting for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to join their cause.
Opening arguments for Trump’s Senate impeachment trial will begin on Feb. 8.
What are they saying?
In order to successfully convict Trump, a two-thirds majority vote will be required in the Senate, which means that some 17 Republicans will need to break with their party and join Democrats in voting to convict him.
The only way that’s even a remote possibility is if McConnell swings that way himself, which would likely lead to a number of his Republican allies following him or, at the very least, open to the idea of McConnell talking them into such a move.
A Republican member of Congress reportedly indicated that McConnell desires a clean Republican break from the former president and in no uncertain terms.
“Mitch said to me he wants Trump gone,” the anonymous Republican 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?”
McConnell seemed to break with the president in the aftermath of the Capitol riot, in which he accused the president of inciting the riot as he spoke on the Senate floor earlier this week.
What happens next?
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will reportedly transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate on Monday, which will officially begin the process of setting into motion an upcoming Senate trial. Impeachment managers have already been selected in what is expected to be a bitter fight.
On Tuesday, senators will be formally sworn in as jurors for the trial, while impeachment managers and Trump’s impeachment defense team begin to draw up legal briefs.
Trump has already hired a prominent, South Carolina attorney, Butch Bowers, to represent him in the impeachment trial, according to CBS News. Bowers doesn’t have much in the way of a national profile but is said to have a strong background, having graduated from Tulane University School of Law, as well as experience in successfully representing politicians in the past.
Bowers, who has already stated that he looks “forward to representing the former president,” has represented politicians such as former Gov. Nikki Haley, former Gov. Mark Sanford, among several other high-profile Republicans.