White House pushes impeachment dismissal — reportedly fears at least 4 GOP defections on Senate trial vote

White House pushes impeachment dismissal — reportedly fears at least 4 GOP defections on Senate trial vote
Mitt Romney, image via Gage Skidmore / Flickr.

The White House reportedly believes as many as four-plus GOP senators will vote with Democrats to call witnesses in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, according to CBS News. If true, that's a whopper of a turnabout. CBS names Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah, and possibly Cory Gardner of Colorado as the first four potential defections, with Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee as two other possibilities.

This development would explain a lot of things, chief among them why Trump went from pushing for testimony from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday morning to several hours later tweeting his support for a Senate vote to dismiss the trial altogether. It was quite an evolution, even for Trump.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell doesn't have the votes for dismissal, according to CNN, and he's stalling on laying out a timeline on a vote to set the parameters for the trial. Naturally, McConnell went to the Senate floor Monday to take a victory lap on Pelosi agreeing to send over the impeachment articles before the Senate's parameters were clear. He said she had accomplished "nothing."

But at the last minute, at least, it seems more like a “Republicans in disarray” moment. Trump's switching horses on the Senate trial midstream because he's freaked. The White House is pushing McConnell to take a vote on dismissal for which he doesn't have enough GOP support. At the same time, top Republicans are trying to publicly dissuade Trump from insisting on incorporating the House GOP clown car in his defense team.

“My advice to him would be: Let's not infect the Senate trial with the circus-like atmosphere of the House,” Cornyn told reporters.

Sorry, but it looks like Pelosi has at least given the White House and Republican senators a touch of heartburn, among other things she accomplished.

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