As the Senate impeachment trial grinds toward a climax, it remains unclear how three Democrats will vote on whether to toss President Donald Trump from office.
What We Know:
- Democratic Senators. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Krysten Sinema of Arizona, and Doug Jones of Alabama are undecided on whether to vote to remove the president from office and are “struggling” over where to land, said Manchin.
- Unlike a quartet of wavering Republicans who could put Trump in peril as lawmakers decide whether to call witnesses and extend the proceedings, the three Democrats’ votes on whether to acquit him won’t likely affect the trial’s outcome. It seems certain that the GOP-run Senate will lack the 67 votes needed to remove Trump from office, no matter what the trio does.
- It’s a decision that could have major ramifications on each senator’s legacy and political prospects as well as shape the broader political dynamic surrounding impeachment heading into the 2020 election.
- One or more senators may end up splitting their votes, borrowing a move from Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine), who voted for the abuse of power charge but against the one on obstruction of Congress.
- Manchin insisted Tuesday he hasn’t figured out where he will come down and won’t until the trial ends.
- Many in the Capitol believed Manchin had run his last campaign in 2018, freeing him to vote however he wants. He insisted he still will, but also didn’t rule out running for Senate again in 2024. “I have no idea. I swear to God, buddy. I don’t.”
- The most immediate pressure is on Jones, an unlikely Democratic senator from the deep south fighting for his political life this fall with no good options. Republicans will batter him if he votes to convict the President and Democrats will rebel if he votes to acquit. In his front office on Tuesday, his phone rang repeatedly as aides answered questions about impeachment witnesses.
- Jones said in an interview, “I don’t think I’ve totally decided. I certainly have been leaning one way or the other. That needle moves” depending on the day’s testimony. “I am leaning in certain ways, but I want to hear, I truly, honestly, want to hear the entire trial.”
- On the other side of the fence, speculation is growing that some Republicans may break ranks and vote to convict Trump. GOP senators including Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins are remaining secretive about their intentions.
Stay tuned for what’s next on the real-life edition of Scandal.