Multiple Republican senators have shot down the possibility of dismissing the impeachment charges against President Donald Trump without a trial.
Now that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has finally transmitted the articles of impeachment to the Senate for trial, it has become clear GOP leadership will not have the votes to dismiss impeachment outright, IJR reports.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is still committed to ending impeachment, but a trial is apparently inevitable.
Republicans support a trial
McConnell has done a good job of uniting the Senate GOP against impeachment. But when it comes to the outright dismissal that Trump has requested, the GOP is not on board.
Speaking to The Washington Post, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) said: “I don’t think there’s any interest on our side of dismissing. Certainly, there aren’t 51 votes for a motion to dismiss.”
A motion to dismiss could only afford two Republican defections, as no Democrat would support it. So far, a few Republican senators have said they want a trial and would not support dismissal, The Hill notes.
And not only is there an outright opposition to dismissal, but there is also a group of GOP senators working to call witnesses to the Senate trial.
Showdown over witnesses
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) opposes dismissal and is leading an effort to call witnesses in the Senate trial, according to Marketwatch, something that McConnell has resisted since the beginning. Collins is joined by Sens. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).
Outside this small but important contingent of senators, Republicans are largely opposed to calling witnesses. McConnell will likely crack down on Collins’ efforts.
This showdown over witnesses is what began the standoff over sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate in the first place. However, Democrats had no leverage over Senate leadership, and have been forced to advance the articles without a witness agreement, the Washington Examiner notes.
The Republican opposition to witnesses being called is important. It sends a message to House Democrats that their impeachment standards will not be accepted.
What Democrats did to Republicans in the House was unprecedented. Thankfully, McConnell has decided that no matter what, the Democrats cannot be rewarded. With Republicans in control, acquittal for President Trump is a certainty.