Senate Republicans seem unlikely to follow through with a request from President Trump to dismiss the impeachment articles before a Senate trial.
“Our members generally are not interested in the motion to dismiss,” Missouri Senator Roy Blunt said Monday, according to the Associated Press. “They think both sides need to be heard,” Blunt added, arguing that Trump “deserves an opportunity to get a fair hearing, make his case and I think that’s ultimately what will happen.”
On Sunday, the president tweeted “I agree!” in reference to the claim that an impeachment trial “gives the partisan Democrat Witch Hunt credibility that it otherwise does not have.”
Many believe that by the Senate giving credence to a trial based on the no evidence, no crime, read the transcripts, “no pressure” Impeachment Hoax, rather than an outright dismissal, it gives the partisan Democrat Witch Hunt credibility that it otherwise does not have. I agree!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2020
With Republicans wielding a 53-47 majority, but needing only 51 votes to approve motions, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and fellow Republican leaders have been attempting to determine the best path forward without losing votes.
“This is about Chuck Schumer getting 2020 Republican incumbents into tough voting situations,” Texas Senator John Cornyn said — in reference to Schumer’s vow to force the subpoena of witnesses. “It won’t surprise you that we’re thinking about that too and how to avoid that as much as possible.”
Last week, McConnell signaled that the caucus had secured the minimum 51 votes to move forward with a trial mirroring that of former president Bill Clinton — voting to call witnesses after hearing opening arguments.
“We want to have the Clinton rule applied to the beginning of the process and then deal with issue of witnesses at a later stage,” Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R., S.D.) said. “I don’t think there’s any questions that there will probably be that vote at some point.”
The model is supported by moderate Republican Susan Collins of Maine, who has been working with a “fairly small group” of GOP senators to arrange a vote on witnesses and documents. Collins also said she would oppose any effort to dismiss the charges ahead of a trial.
McConnell issued an ultimatum Thursday to House Democrats who were holding the articles of impeachment as leverage, and forced Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s hand after saying that the Senate would “move forward next week with the business of our people,” if she stalled further.
Missouri Republican Josh Hawley had proposed a resolution to throw out impeachment if the articles were not transmitted in a timely manner, a move that McConnell and 15 other senators had signed on to as of Monday, but that move look unlikely to happen.