Report reveals Republicans are quietly lobbying GOP Senators to convict and banish Trump
Although Donald Trump's presidency ended on Wednesday when President Joe Biden was sworn into office, it remains to be seen what role the former president will play in the Republican Party in the months ahead. Reporters Michael Warren and Jamie Gangel, in a CNN article published on Biden's second full day as president, take a look at some Republicans who are discreetly lobbying for Trump's repudiation.
Having been impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives for incitement to insurrection following the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol Building, Trump awaits an impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate. Mitch McConnell, now Senate minority leader rather than majority leader, has indicated that he is open to possibly voting "guilty" — and according to Warren and Gangel, "dozens of influential Republicans around Washington" have been "quietly lobbying GOP members of Congress to impeach and convict Donald Trump."
"The ongoing Republican whisper campaign, according to more than a dozen sources who spoke to CNN, is based on a shared belief that a successful conviction is critical for the future of the Republican Party," Warren and Gangel explain. "Multiple sources describe this moment as a reckoning for the Party…. It would take 17 Republicans to join all 50 Democrats in order to convict. While the bar is high, some GOP sources think there is more of an appetite to punish the former president than is publicly apparent."
Charlie Dent, a former Republican congressman, believes that many Republicans in Congress would like to see Trump banished from the GOP but are afraid to say so publicly.
Dent told CNN, "There were ten House Republicans who voted for impeachment. There were probably over 150 who supported it."
Meanwhile, an anonymous source described by Warren and Gangel as a "former senior Republican official," believes that being convicted in a Senate trial could end Trump's stranglehold on the GOP.
"Trump created a cult of personality that is hard to dismantle," that Republican told CNN. "Conviction could do that."
The conservative anti-Trump lobbying effort in Washington, D.C., according to Warren and Gangel, includes a "nine-point memo" listing some reasons why convicting Trump would be beneficial for the GOP.
A former senior Republican official is hoping that McConnell's "institutional reverence for the Senate will overcome his natural political caution and will lead him to the conclusion that Trump is in the way of the party's future." But that same Republican also worries that many Senate Republicans will be afraid to convict Trump, telling CNN, "I have learned through sad experience that no one has lost money betting on the seemingly bottomless capacity of congressional R's for self-abasement and cowardice."
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