The House Democratic impeachment prosecutors have one more day to convince the Republican-controlled Senate that President Trump should be removed from office for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — or at least that four Republicans should join the 47 Democrats to subpoena evidence and witnesses Trump blocked from House investigators. The three most plausible GOP defectors are Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Mitt Romney (Utah), and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), but both parties are closely watching Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Politico reports.
Trump, who opposes witnesses, has both carrots and sticks to offer wavering Republicans. One Trump confidante told CBS News that GOP senators have been warned: "Vote against the president, and your head will be on a pike."
In opening statements, House managers examined the debunked conspiracy theories invoked by Pres. Trump.
A @POTUS confidant tells CBS News that GOP senators were warned: “vote against the president & your head will be on a pike.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been warning his colleagues that subpoenaing former National Security Adviser John Bolton and other witnesses "could indefinitely delay the Senate trial" with "a protracted and complex legal fight over presidential privilege," an argument amplified Wednesday in a Senate GOP briefing by former Attorney General Michael Mukasey. That legal quagmire rationalization appears to resonate with Murkowski and other Republicans — though it's unlikely a subpoena signed by the chief justice of the Supreme Court after being approved by a majority of the Senate could be contested in court.
Trump has also been "rewarding senators who have his back on impeachment" by helping them raise campaign cash, "and sending a message to those who don't to get on board," Politico reported in October. And Trump, U.S. Chamber of Commerce strategist Scott Reed noted, "has the ability to turn on the money spigot like no one else."
Impeachment isn't like any other trial — which is good for Trump. Because in a normal trial, appearing to bribe or threaten jurors is frowned upon. Peter Weber
So far, 18 House Republicans have announced that they are resigning, retiring, or seeking another office, including longtime GOP stalwarts, some of the few GOP congresswoman, and the lone black Republican congressman. And that just scratches the surface, The Washington Post reports. "All told, 41 House Republicans have left national politics or announced they won't seek re-election in the nearly three years since [President] Trump took office," dwarfing the 25 Democrats who retired between 2009 and 2013, "and Republicans privately predict this is only the beginning."
Since Trump's inauguration, a Washington Post analysis shows, nearly 40 percent of the 241 Republicans who were in office in January 2017 are gone or leaving because of election losses, retirements including former House speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.), and some, such as [Michigan Rep. Paul] Mitchell, who are simply quitting in disgust. The vast turnover is a reminder of just how much Trump has remade the GOP — and of the purge of those who dare to oppose him. [The Washington Post]
Most retiring or resigning GOP members of Congress cite their families, "but behind the scenes, Republicans say the trend highlights a greater pessimism about the direction of the party under Trump — and their ability to win back the House next year," the Post reports. Most are reluctant to criticize Trump on the record, but Mitchell isn't.
"We're here for a purpose — and it's not this petty, childish bulls--t," Mitchell, 62, told the Post in early September. He said his decision to retire started when Trump attacked four Democratic congresswomen on Twitter, then solidified when no fellow Republicans would relay his concerns to Trump. "Did any member of this conference expect that their job would start out every morning trying to go through the list of what's happening in tweets of the day?" he asked. Read more at The Washington Post. Peter Weber