Senator John Cornyn (R., Texas) told reporters on Wednesday that Senate Republicans lack the votes required to immediately dismiss articles of impeachment, should they be approved by the House.
Republicans have floated the possibility of striking down articles of impeachment immediately upon their arrival in the Senate, but Cornyn said that would be difficult to accomplish because a number of Senate Republicans would likely defect and vote to proceed with the hearing.
“There’s some people talking about trying to stop the bill, dismiss charges basically as soon as they get over here,” Cornyn said in comments reported by The Hill. “I think that’s not going to happen. That would require 51 votes.”
“I think it would be hard to find 51 votes to cut the case off before the evidence is presented,” Cornyn continued.
In order to remove President Trump from office, the Senate would need to approve impeachment by 67 votes or a two-thirds majority of those present. Around 20 Republican Senators would need to join Democrats for the impeachment articles to pass, something Cornyn believed was highly unlikely.
However, Cornyn said it would be best to let the impeachment process play out in a trial to “let each side have their say.”
“In the end, we need to have a process that the American people think was fair,” Cornyn added.
House Democrats held public hearings on Wednesday as part of the impeachment inquiry into whether President Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine to pressure the country to investigate corruption allegations against political rival Joe Biden.
Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, testified during the hearings that Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, remarked that Trump “cared more” about the investigations into Biden than wider U.S. policy toward Ukraine.
President Trump and Republican allies have slammed the impeachment inquiry, with Trump repeatedly calling the inquiry a “hoax” and a “witch hunt.” Trump denies conditioning aid to Ukraine on investigations into Biden.