Chris Wallace: A well-connected Republican tells me there's a 20% chance the Senate will remove Trump from office

Chris Wallace: A well-connected Republican tells me there's a 20% chance the Senate will remove Trump from office

Via the Blaze. Is this “well-connected Republican” Rick Wilson or Mike Murphy or some other ardently and relentlessly anti-Trump Republican consultant?

It’s not … “Pierre Delecto,” is it?

My dude, there wouldn’t be a 20 percent chance of the Senate GOP removing Trump from office even if he did shoot someone on Fifth Avenue on broad daylight. Without incontrovertible evidence that Trump withheld Ukraine’s military aid until he saw movement on the Biden/Burisma probe, I’d say there’s less than a one-percent chance of removal. Even if that evidence emerged, with Gordon Sondland or whoever testifying that Trump framed the quid pro quo for them in those exact terms, I’d guess there’d be at most a 10 percent chance of removal. Most Republicans would retreat into the safe haven of “bad but not impeachable” logic.

I think there may be a 20 percent chance of Democrats getting 51 senators to vote for removal, though. They’d need either four or five Republican votes (depending upon whether Joe Manchin sticks with his caucus) for a “moral victory” in which Trump remains in office but Dems get to boast that a clear majority of both chambers of Congress believes he ought to be driven from office right now. Just tell me who those four or five Republicans are. Romney, Murkowski — who else? Let’s say someone like Richard Burr climbs aboard, creating a 50/50 split. Who’s going to be the fourth Republican to gift-wrap a “majority voted for removal!” talking point for the Dems ahead of the election with both Trump and McConnell breathing down his or her neck not to do so?

Why accept the political heat of casting the 51st vote knowing that it means nothing in practical terms? It’s all downside for your party and no upside.

Watching Lindsey Graham, it’s easy to imagine how an acquittal vote will be justified:

Now that Graham is in the Senate, he’ll vote to acquit — or remove — Trump if he’s impeached by the House.

“Sure. I mean … show me something that … is a crime,” Graham told Axios’ Jonathan Swan. “If you could show me that, you know, Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo, outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing.”

“As to asking China to look into Biden, that was stupid. … Bad idea. That didn’t last very long. I think that’s a frustrated Trump.”

But Trump’s Ukraine call isn’t impeachable on its own, Graham said: “I’ve read the transcript of the Ukrainian phone call. That’s not a quid pro quo to me.”

Publicly calling on China to investigate the Bidens doesn’t count because that was just Trump being flippant or whatever. The phone call with Zelensky isn’t clear enough evidence of a quid pro quo even though Mick Mulvaney has admitted that the aid was held back in part because of Trump’s interest in the CrowdStrike server, and even if it was clear evidence, it doesn’t necessarily rise to the level of a federal statutory offense. If all else fails, Graham can go with “bad but not impeachable” to rationalize a vote to acquit. Nothing short of an outright confession by the president is going to force his hand, and even then he’d probably find something in the confession that would justify voting against removal. “He’s obviously contrite. I don’t think he’ll do it again.”

The ludicrous 20 percent estimate on removal from Wallace’s source was probably just that person’s offhand way of trying to capture how much irritation there is within the Senate GOP caucus at Trump right now.

In interviews with more than 20 GOP lawmakers and congressional aides in the past 48 hours, many said they were repulsed by Trump’s decision to host an international summit at his own resort and incensed by acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s admission — later withdrawn — that U.S. aid to Ukraine was withheld for political reasons. Others expressed anger over the president’s abandonment of Kurdish allies in Syria…

A few Republicans are starting to say they flat-out won’t do it anymore — particularly the president’s choice of his Trump National Doral Miami golf resort for next year’s Group of Seven summit of world leaders, a selection that will benefit him financially.

“You have to go out and try to defend him. Well, I don’t know if I can do that!” steamed a frustrated Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho). “I have no doubt that Doral is a really good place — I’ve been there, I know. But it is politically insensitive. They should have known what the kickback is going to be on this, that politically he’s doing it for his own benefit.”

Both WaPo and the NYT claimed this morning that it was anger from Republicans within Congress, not Democrats, at Trump’s G7 gambit that convinced him to give up on the idea. (Weirdly, Trump cited opposition from Dems and the media for his decision to reverse himself, a strange play for a guy whose entire brand is never backing down to the partisan enemy.) The 20 percent figure, although grossly exaggerated, may be a polite way of signaling enough bull***t already to the president. At a moment when the GOP is struggling to spin the Ukraine business *and* the Syria withdrawal for him, it’s intolerable that he would put them in the position of having to defend corruption as blatant as handing the G7 to his resort as well. The more likely he thinks removal is — even though it’s almost impossible — the more willing he might be to behave himself for the next couple of months while the impeachment saga plays out. At least make it easy for Republicans to go into the tank for him, for cripes sake.

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