It takes a two-thirds majority of those present at the trial to convict Trump. That means 67-33 if all the Senators turn up to vote.
Yesterday, I came up with 14 Republican Senators who were likely to strongly consider convicting Trump.
My list, in alphabetic order, includes Burr, Collins, Capito, Crapo, Grassley, Lee, McConnell, Murkowski, Portman, Romney, Sasse, Sullivan, Thune, Tillis, and Toomey.
While researching my list for other names, I found a couple of helpful articles by others doing the same thing.
The Slate asked the question, What the Republican Senators Most Likely to Convict Trump Have Said About Impeachment?
- "Most Powerful Reported Supporter" Mitch McConnell (1)
- "Usual Suspects" Lisa Murkowski, Sue Collins, Mitt Romney (3)
- "Trump Critics" Pat Toomey, Ben Sasse (2)
- "Reluctant Trump Critics" Shelley Moore Capito, Richard Burr, and Mike Lee (3)
- "Unlikely But Possible" Rob Portman, Roy Blunt, and Todd Young (3)
- "Wild Cards" Jerry Moran, Mike Rounds, Bill Cassidy, Thom Tillis, Chuck Grassley, Joni Ernst, Tom Cotton, and John Thune (8)
That's a list of 20. But I solidly rule out Blunt and Cotton, and highly doubt Ernst.
Cotton says it's unconstitutional for a vote after Trump is out of office. Ernst wants to "move on".
The Slate calls Grassley a "wild card" but I believe he is much stronger because Grassley Made This Statement: There's 'very little opportunity' for Trump to lead the Republican Party, regardless of impeachment
The Slate failed to mention Crapo but I found this statement as a reason to place him on my list.
“Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution is clear. Election laws are entrusted to the states. The Constitution and the statutory law of the United States give explicit jurisdiction over the certification of the Electoral College electors to the states. Through the Electoral College, the election of the president is entrusted to the states, not to Congress. When disputes arise, adjudication rests in the courts. Any effort by Congress to abandon the Electoral College’s constitutional significance for states to certify and send their Electors would set a dangerous precedent I cannot support. To undercut this system would inevitably lead to federalizing our election process and remove the authority of states under the Constitution. This is an outcome many have sought for years, but it would be a serious mistake. It would gravely diminish Idaho’s role in electing future presidents. I took a solemn oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, to bear true faith and allegiance to the same, and to faithfully discharge the duties of the office I represent. That is why I will not join efforts to have Congress reject validly certified Electoral College votes.”
If you take the Slate's top 4 categories and add Portman, you are up to 10 needing another 7. Why Portman?
Note that Trump called Thune a RINO and pledged to get someone to run against him, so I have Thune a probable, not a wild card.
I also have Dan Sullivan on my list. but with far less conviction, based on this Tweet.
As noted, the Slate missed Crapo and Sullivan. I also think Tillis and Thune are a bit more than wild cards.
That's how I got to 14. [Correction 15, I missed counting Capito]
Who Can We Rule Out?
Another way to approach this topic is to ask. Senators don't respond to me but they did, at least partially, to an Inquiry by CBS.
The names in Bold are on my list.
- Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania)
- Ben Sasse (Nebraska)
- Mitt Romney (Utah)
- Marco Rubio (Florida)
- Rand Paul (Kentucky)
- Cindy Hyde-Smith (Mississippi)
- Roger Wicker (Mississippi)
- Roy Blunt (Missouri)
- Steve Daines (Montana)
- Kevin Cramer (North Dakota)
- Tim Scott (South Carolina)
- Ted Cruz (Texas)
- Lindsey Graham (South Carolina)
Responded but declined to say what vote would be
- Mike Crapo (Idaho)
- Susan Collins (Maine)
- Joni Ernst (Iowa)
- Todd Young (Indiana)
- Rick Scott (Florida)
- Jim Risch (Idaho)
- John Cornyn (Texas)
- Cynthia Lummis (Wyoming)
Did not respond to CBS News' request for comment
- Richard Shelby (Alabama)
- Tommy Tuberville (Alabama)
- Daniel Sullivan (Alaska)
- Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
- John Boozman (Arkansas)
- Tom Cotton (Arkansas)
- Kelly Loeffler (Georgia) [Mish Note: Gone]
- Mike Braun (Indiana)
- Chuck Grassley (Iowa)
- Roger Marshall (Kansas)
- Jerry Moran (Kansas)
- Mitch McConnell (Kentucky)
- Bill Cassidy (Louisiana)
- John Kennedy (Louisiana)
- Josh Hawley (Missouri)
- Deb Fischer (Nebraska)
- Richard Burr (North Carolina)
- Thom Tillis (North Carolina)
- John Hoeven (North Dakota)
- Rob Portman (Ohio)
- Jim Inhofe (Oklahoma)
- James Lankford (Oklahoma)
- Mike Rounds (South Dakota)
- John Thune (South Dakota)
- Bill Hagerty (Tennessee)
- Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee)
- Mike Lee (Utah)
- Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia)
- Ron Johnson (Wisconsin)
- John Barrasso (Wyoming)
I do not expect to be correct on all of my "Yes" vote but I do expect to be correct on most of them. Call it 12.
Assuming my total is accurate, can McConnell round up sufficient votes from the remaining 26?
If my total guess is accurate, then my answer is yes. If less than 10 in my list of 14 actually vote to convict, it will be difficult to get to 17.
Will There Even Be a Trial?
In a scenario I have not heard discussed elsewhere, if McConnell has the Republican votes, he will tell Biden and the trial will take place with Trump convicted.
But if McConnell does not have the votes, Biden could ask for dismissal and Chuck Schumer, who will be the new Senate Majority Leader, could act to dismiss the charges.
In addition to waiting for the three new Democrat Senators (two from Georgia), this setup may be another reason McConnell wants to delay the vote.
Friendly Political Cooperation
I am convinced Schumer, McConnell, and Biden are all cooperating to convict Trump, with McConnell doing everything he can to deliver 17 Republican votes.
I do not have Pelosi in this loop. The House is now irrelevant except as prosecutor. The Senate is the jury.
If my theory is correct, then one of two things will happen. Trump will be convicted with a further vote to stop him from ever running again OR Biden will ask Schumer to walk this back, with censure, in the name of healing the nation.
A trial without conviction only helps Trump. Schumer, McConnell, and Biden will seek to prevent that outcome, one way or another.
Finally, let's assume I am wrong and there is a vote that comes up short. That would be a victory of sorts for Trump, but it would not resurrect him. Senator Grassley has the right idea: There's 'very little opportunity' for Trump to lead the Republican Party, regardless of impeachment
Addendum - Senate Trial is NOT Mandated
This is consistent with McConnell's reluctance to have a quick trial before the 20th.
Addendum: I missed counting Capito. That makes 15, not 14.