Several Republican senators discussed the effect that dual impeachments will have on the likelihood of former President Donald Trump running for president in 2024, with some privately claiming a second impeachment trial is enough to deter him from pursuing office again.
This week, House impeachment managers made their case why the Senate should vote to convict Donald Trump and officially prevent him from running for office ever again, as The Hill reported. They showed video footage of the violence that took place on Jan. 6, including evidence of heroic acts by Capitol Hill Police officers. On the first day of the hearings, Democrats began the trial with a video montage of Trump’s statements before the rioting took place and moments of the violent attack on the Capitol.
A senator commented on the evidence, adding, “What would stand out to my colleagues is there was no rescue, there was nothing that came to put an end to it.”
House impeachment managers told the jury of senators “that the National Guard was not deployed until two hours after the attack on the Capitol began, delaying the arrival of troops until 5 p.m. that day.”
According to The Hill’s reporting, one GOP senator “suggested that Democrats may ultimately help the GOP by sidelining Trump.”
“‘Unwittingly, they are doing us a favor. They’re making Donald Trump disqualified to run for president’ even if he is acquitted, the senator said.”
Other Republican senators, even those who are expected to acquit, “say it would be a good thing if the impeachment trial helps distance the party from Trump, who has thoroughly dominated GOP politics over the past five years.”
House impeachment manager Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) warned that Trump could “do this again” if he ran in 2024 and lost, arguing that Trump could incite another insurrection.
But despite the Democrats’ arguments, conviction still appears unlikely.
TIME Magazine writes that some Republicans’ decision to acquit Trump might be based on what an impeachment of a former president would mean for the future of the country. They could be more concerned with that reality than the possibility of an acquittal serving as “tacit approval for Trump or future politicians to cling to power through violence.”
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) responded to Lieu’s worry, saying,
“The thing I’m most concerned about is not Trump…I’m concerned about the precedent and the pattern this will set… This is the fourth trial in our nation’s history and two of them have been in the last 13 months. I’m worried this will become routine.”
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) also said publicly that she was less concerned about Trump running again. “After the American public sees the full story laid out here … I don’t see how Donald Trump could be reelected to the presidency again,” Murkowski said Wednesday.
The Hill’s reporting affirms that other Republicans have privately agreed with that evaluation.
One senator said, “This is very damaging to any future political race for President Trump, but I’ve been amazed at the amount of and intensity of support despite all the other things that have happened.”
The senator added that while many voters think “’Trump is a huge problem for Republicans,’ there are many GOP voters who think the former president has been ‘railroaded’ by the establishment.”
Trump is not expected to be convicted when the trial ends, although six Republican senators are actively weighing a vote against the former president.
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