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And- flipping the Senate by two seats turns the GOP and the base against Trump - key to impeachment and conviction

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And- flipping the Senate by two seats turns the GOP and the base against Trump - key to impeachment and conviction

Antle ’18 (W. James Antle III, politics editor of The Washington Examiner, “Senate Republicans might just impeach Trump”, http://theweek.com/articles/752058/why-senate-republicans-might-just-impeach-trump, February 1, 2018)

It seems more likely than not that Democrats will retake the House in November, with the building wave of GOP retirements perhaps the best indicator that Republicans themselves are expecting a rout. If Democrats win control of Congress, they will then have the simple House majority required to impeach Trump. What they almost certainly will not have, however, no matter how well the midterms go, is the two-thirds Senate majority needed to convict and remove him. Given the difficult map this year, Democrats may not even be able to take control of the Senate. But for the sake of argument, let's say they win a 52-48 majority. They would still need 15 Republicans to vote to remove Trump from office. Would Senate Republicans ever turn on Trump? That's a tall order. But contrary to the expectations of liberals who believe all elected Republicans indiscriminately enable Trump, it may not be an impossible one, at least compared to the last two presidents threatened with impeachment. Remember the '90s? Even with 55 votes in the Senate, Republicans were never going to be able to complete their impeachment drive against President Bill Clinton because there were no Democratic senators willing to vote to remove him. Only five House Democrats voted for any of the Clinton articles of impeachment. The GOP was never going to get 12 senators. Similarly, if party leaders had allowed antiwar Democrats to move forward with their efforts to impeach President George W. Bush, they might have won over Republicans like Ron Paul or Walter Jones in the House, but zero Senate Republicans could have been persuaded to convict Bush. In Clinton's case, Democrats simply did not believe that the underlying offense that led to the president's perjury and alleged obstruction of justice — consensual sexual relations with White House intern Monica Lewinsky — was serious enough to justify removing him from office. And in Bush's case, Republicans would have regarded the president's impeachment as the criminalization of policy disagreements (particularly over the so-called war on terror), and they overwhelmingly still agreed with the Bush policy in question. Things might be different with Trump. If Mueller is able to present clear and compelling evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, with the president's knowledge, Republican votes for impeachment really are gettable in a way that they were not in past cases. This situation would be fundamentally different than the impeachment talk around Clinton and Bush. And some Senate Republicans really might turn on the president. Obviously, the threshold for GOP senators to turn on Trump would be much higher than for Democrats, for whom the Trump Tower meeting alone suffices. For Republicans, "collusion" would likely have to mean some direct involvement in stolen Democratic emails, cooperating with the creation and distribution of Russian fake news, or at bare minimum a well established awareness of and coordination with what the Russians were doing. They would have to see a clear quid pro quo. For many GOP lawmakers, even that wouldn't be enough. Many have indeed shown that they'll back Trump no matter what. But it is not that hard to imagine a set of facts that would cause principled Russia hawks like Ben Sasse, Marco Rubio, and Lindsey Graham to turn against the president. And once a few dominos fall, it makes it easier for the others to topple in turn. Remember, too, that the two biggest reasons that Republican lawmakers continue to back Trump is that they see him as a vehicle to accomplish their legislative goals, and they fear a backlash from the Trump-loving base were they to turn on him. But in a post-midterm world in which Republicans have been roundly shellacked, Trump's legislative agenda would be dead on arrival, and his base would be disillusioned. Republican senators might well see fewer reasons to stand by their man.

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