Former President Donald Trump is reportedly saying that his threat to start another political party will get GOP senators to acquit him during his upcoming impeachment trial over the D.C. insurrection. From The Washington Post [emphasis ours]:
Multiple people in Trump’s orbit, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations, say Trump has told people that the third-party threat gives him leverage to prevent Republican senators from voting to convict him during the Senate impeachment trial. Trump advisers also say they plan to recruit opposing primary candidates and commission polling next week in districts of targeted lawmakers. Trump has more than $70 million in campaign cash banked to fund his political efforts, these people say.
Trump supporters raided the Capitol Building on January 6 as Congress was counting electoral college results for the 2020 presidential election. Then-President Trump continued to lie that he actually won and it was being stolen from him. The chaos followed a typically incendiary speech from the nearby Ellipse park.
“We fight like hell and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” Trump said in existential terms.
Five people–four supporters and one Capitol police officer–died from events at the Capitol. Another officer, and an insurrection defendant died by suicide mere days after the incident.
Successful conviction efforts in the Senate means Trump would be barred from seeking federal office again. Goodbye 2024 re-election campaign. At face value, that is going to be hard to achieve. Only 10 House Republicans voted to impeach. A supermajority vote of two-thirds is necessary to convict in the Senate. Trump reportedly aims to keep it that way, and that may well be the case, assuming a party line vote. Dems barely control the Chamber with 50-50 representation. Basically, Trump’s reported approach to the Republican party is that if he’s going down, he’s going to make life a lot more difficult for them politically.
Influential Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has reportedly supported impeachment, but it remains to be seen if he will stick to this stance, amid the likelihood that Trump supporters will turn against the GOP.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) told Fox News on Sunday that Trump “bears responsibility for some of what happened,” but nonetheless, he opposes the ongoing impeachment process.
“I think the trial is stupid,” he said. “I think it’s counterproductive. We already have a flaming fire in this country, and it’s like taking a bunch of gasoline and pouring it on top of the fire.”
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) is a likely yes vote on conviction, and was the only GOPer to vote for removal the last time Trump was impeached.
“I believe that what is being alleged and what we saw, which is incitement to insurrection, is an impeachable offense,” he said Sunday on CNN. “If not, what is?”
[Image via Pete Marovich – Pool/Getty Images]
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