A new Politico/Morning Consult poll shows that 50% of registered voters surveyed would support the Senate’s removing President Trump from office, while 43% oppose the president’s removal. Seven percent of voters were undecided.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he would allow Rudy Guiliani to come before the panel to “inform the committee of his concerns,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
Tweeted Graham: “Given the House of Representatives’ behavior, it is time for the Senate to inquire about corruption and other improprieties involving Ukraine.”
Gerald Seib: “They are the four Senate Republicans up for re-election next year in swing states, where support for Mr. Trump isn’t as strong as it is in the deep-red states many of their colleagues represent. They are Sens. Martha McSally of Arizona; Cory Gardner of Colorado; Susan Collins of Maine; and Thom Tillis of North Carolina. Comments critical of the president from sometimes-renegade Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Ben Sasse of Nebraska are noteworthy, but these four will be far more important leading indicators of GOP sentiments.”
“These four face the toughest re-election races of any Republicans next year. The authoritative Cook Political Report rates the Arizona, Colorado and Maine races as tossups, and the North Carolina race as one that leans Republican. They come from states where opinions of Mr. Trump are deeply divided.”
“Thus, when it comes to rendering judgment on the president, each of these four can be sure they will anger a significant chunk of their constituency no matter what they do.”
Gabriel Sherman: “According to people close to Romney, he’s firmly decided against primarying Trump, an enterprise he believes to be a sure loser given Trump’s enduring GOP support. Romney has also told people that, as an unsuccessful two-time presidential candidate, he’s the wrong person to take on Trump.”
“Instead, a Romney adviser told me, Romney believes he has more potential power as a senator who will decide Trump’s fate in an impeachment trial… In recent days, Romney has been reaching out privately to key players in the Republican resistance.”
Said the adviser: “He could have tremendous influence in the impeachment process as the lone voice of conscience in the Republican caucus… Romney is the one guy who could bring along Susan Collins, Cory Gardner, Ben Sasse. Romney is the pressure point in the impeachment process. That’s why the things he’s saying are freaking Republicans out.”
Charlie Sykes: “Graham told himself: by staying close to Trump, he could influence him and prevent horribly bad decisions. Others made the same calculation, but Graham made the uber-tradeoff, because the stakes were so high. What did it matter if he had to endure temporary embarrassments, abase himself on cable television, or even become a political punchline, if he could stop Trump from impulsive decisions regarding Russia or North Korea? Or Syria?”
“The world saw Graham as a craven, cringing Uriah Heep. Graham saw himself as someone who could save the world, or at least the Kurds.”
“Graham calculated: If he didn’t play golf with Trump and indulge his penchant for pillow talk, Trump would be putting and chatting with Rand Paul, listening to the counsels of isolationism, appeasement and international amorality. He was not simply the adult in the room; he was the adult BFF in the room, who would temper Trump’s worst instincts.”
“And then came Trump’s decision. Despite Graham’s compulsive turd-polishing of the last few years, Trump didn’t even consult him before making the decision to abandon the Kurds. Graham, who had given up so much self-respect to prevent just this outcome, was not even in the room. He didn’t even get a text.”
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell publicly rebuked President Trump’s plan to withdraw U.S. troops from northeast Syria, saying that a supermajority in the Senate disagreed with the president’s abrupt announcement,” the Washington Post reports.
Said McConnell: “I urge the President to exercise American leadership to keep together our multinational coalition to defeat ISIS and prevent significant conflict between our NATO ally Turkey and our local Syrian counterterrorism partners. Major new conflict between Turkey and our partners in Syria would seriously risk damaging Turkey’s ties to the United States and causing greater isolation for Turkey on the world stage.”
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) told the Columbus Dispatch that President Trump should not have asked the Ukraine or China for help investigating former Vice President Joe Biden.
Said Portman: “The president should not have raised the Biden issue on that call, period. It’s not appropriate for a president to engage a foreign government in an investigation of a political opponent.”
Portman also expressed dismay that Trump offered the services of Attorney General William Barr and the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to help the Ukrainians in the twin probes.
“Nobody wants to be the zebra that strays from the pack and gets gobbled up by the lion. They have to hold hands and jump simultaneously.”
— A former senior Trump administration official, quoted by the Washington Post, on the unwillingness of Senate Republicans to criticize President Trump.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) promised to question the whistleblowers publicly if President Trump ends up impeached, The Hill reports.
Said Graham: “If the whistleblower’s allegations are turned into an impeachment article, it’s imperative that the whistle-blower be interviewed in public, under oath and cross-examined. Nobody in America goes to jail or has anything done to them without confronting their accuser.”
“On Friday, a powerful Republican senator indicated to the Wall Street Journal that he had been concerned this summer that President Trump was creating a quid pro quo with Ukraine by holding up military aid. But he appeared to quickly regret sharing something so seemingly damaging, and he immediately began walking back his statements” the Washington Post reports.
“It was likely not a coincidence then that on Sunday, that senator, Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), went on TV to try to defend the president. Except, he arguably did more damage to the president’s cause by showing just how difficult it is to defend Trump right now.
“In his interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, Johnson refused to answer basic questions about why he was concerned about Trump, instead bringing up a conspiracy theory about a former FBI official that has nothing to do with this matter.”
President Trump continued to bash Sen. Mitt Romney this morning.
Said Trump: “The Democrats are lucky that they don’t have any Mitt Romney types. They may be lousy politicians, with really bad policies (Open Borders, Sanctuary Cities etc.), but they stick together!”
President Trump called for Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) to be “impeached” and said Utah voters made a “big mistake” sending Romney to the Senate.
Sid Trump: “He is a fool who is playing right into the hands of the Do Nothing Democrats!”
Robert Reich: “House Democrats will vote to impeach, but will Senate Republicans vote to convict? Until now that seemed implausible. Democrats hold 47 Senate seats. If they all vote to convict, 20 Republicans would have to join them in order to have the necessary two-thirds of the Senate.”
“What was implausible is now possible. If the vote were held in secret, says Republican strategist Mike Murphy, 30 Republicans would vote today for impeachment. Former Republican senator Jeff Flake puts the likely number at 35.”
“Will they go public? Twenty-three Republicans are up for re-election next fall. Most are from red states that support Trump. But in a few months they’ll be safe from primary challenges. They’ll be free to vote him out.”
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) slammed President Trump for urging Ukraine and China to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son, calling the appeals “appalling,” NBC News reports.
Said Romney: “By all appearances, the President’s brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden is wrong and appalling.”
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) pushed back strongly against President Trump’s suggestion that the Chinese government investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in a statement to the Omaha World Herald.
Said Sasse: “Hold up: Americans don’t look to Chinese commies for the truth. If the Biden kid broke laws by selling his name to Beijing, that’s a matter for American courts, not communist tyrants running torture camps.”
“The Financial Times contacted all 53 Republican senators on Thursday to ask if they were concerned that President Trump had encouraged China, a U.S. adversary, to investigate the Bidens. While some were unavailable for comment due to their travel schedules, not one of the members responded via their staff to express any concern.”
“In a new campaign video on Facebook, Senate Majority Mitch McConnell pitches himself as the man who can end the House’s impeachment inquiry, a sign of how the chief Republican in the chamber might handle an impeachment trial should the House pass articles charging President Trump with crimes,” CNN reports.