Speed Reads

Trump impeachment trial

Trump and Mitch McConnell don't have the votes for a quick dismissal of impeachment charges

President Trump tweeted Sunday that he would prefer the Senate vote to immediately dismiss the two articles of impeachment the House approved against him in December, as several of Trump's GOP allies in the Senate have proposed with the backing of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Republicans have a 53-47 majority in the Senate, and summary dismissal of the charges would take only 51 senators, "but it is clear McConnell does not have the votes," The Associated Press reports.

"I think our members, generally, are not interested in the motion to dismiss," said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a member of McConnell's leadership team. "They think both sides need to be heard." Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said he's not sure Trump even wants a quick dismissal of the charges. "At different times the president has expressed different views," he told Politico. "But I wouldn't get too distracted by an intervening tweet."

Trump has also said at various points he would like the trial to be a made-for-TV spectacle that includes witnesses. McConnell does not want witnesses, but there may be enough Republican votes to at least force a vote on whether to call witnesses. "I've said I'd like to hear from John Bolton," Trump's former national security adviser, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said Monday. "I expect that barring some kind of surprise, I'll be voting in favor of hearing from witnesses after those opening arguments." Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) have said they also want the option to see new evidence and hear from witnesses.

That would appear to leave the pro-witness caucus one vote short, though any one of several Republicans could tip the balance. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), reportedly considered a "wild card" by the White House, notes that witnesses cut both ways. "Don't think you can just vote for Bolton and not the witnesses Trump wants," he warned his GOP colleagues last week.