Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) suggested that each Republican senator’s impeach vote is a matter of conscience. Also, he hinted that senators who disputed the trial’s constitutionality should still vote to convict the former president. This is according to a few sources familiar with the Minority Leader’s thinking.
Meanwhile, the Republican senator has yet to make up his mind on how he’ll vote. Previously, McConnell was among the GOP senators who voted “unconstitutional” as Trump already left office.
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Different from the Last Impeachment
During former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment, McConnell declared from the start that he didn’t consider himself an impartial juror. This time, Trump’s impeachment complaint is happening in a Senate featuring a Democrat majority. However, the majority remains razor-thin. The Senate has an equal member of Republicans and Democrats (Independents caucus with Dems). Democrats do hold the tiebreaker, with Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tiebreaker.
The current impeachment trial favors Trump, as a conviction will require a two-thirds majority to uphold. This means that apart from all 50 Democrats voting for “guilty,” an additional 17 Republicans should cross party lines and vote the same. At this point, getting 17 Republicans remains highly unlikely. The most Democrats managed to get are six Republican votes during last Tuesday’s debate. It questioned the constitutionality of the trial given Trump’s status as a former President. This suggests that most GOP senators won’t dare vote against the party’s stand.
The Impeach Vote is a Matter of Conscience
McConnell, in a leadership meeting Monday night, repeated his suggestion that the impeach vote is a matter of conscience. “We’re all going to listen to what the lawyers have to say and making the arguments and work our way through it,” he said to the media.
Already, the votes changed for at least one Republican. Senator Bill Cassidy (LA) joined five earlier GOP senators in voting along with Democrats. The other five senators, Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Mitt Romney (UT), Ben Sasse (NE), and Pat Toomey (PA) also voted with Democrats on Senator Rand Paul’s (R-KY) point of order regarding the trial’s constitutionality. After the Senate votes, Cassidy explained his vote. “The House managers were focused, they were organized … they made a compelling argument. President Trump’s team, they were disorganized. … One side is doing a great job and the other side is doing a terrible job. … As an impartial juror, I’m going to vote for the side that did a good job,” he said. Previously, Cassidy voted “unconstitutional” during Rand’s point of order.
McConnell Won’t Whip the Vote
Analysts say that McConnell asking party mates to vote according to their conscience is easy. According to the Intelligencer, all it means is that the Minority leader won’t ask Senators to toe the line and whip the vote. At present, there is no need to make trial votes a party matter in need of an exercise in discipline. However, he doesn’t have to. In the case of the impeachment trial, McConnell has yet to indicate there are possible movements similar to Cassidy’s decision.
Watch the Bloomberg Quicktake news video where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tells Republican senators that their Impeach vote is a matter of conscience:
What do you think it means when McConnell said that Senators should vote as a matter of conscience? Do you think it means they can go their own ways to decide? Or, is it just political speak that requires voluntarily toeing the line? Share your comments in the comment section below and tell us how you feel about this.