I had a Twitter discussion awhile ago in which I argued that Utah Senator Mike Lee was one of the three or four most likely Republicans to vote to convict and remove President Donald Trump after a Senate impeachment trial. After Wednesday, I’m even more convinced of it.
That’s not to say that Lee is likely to vote to convict. Indeed, it’s very possible that all 53 Republicans will vote to acquit. And I haven’t seen any reporting at all suggesting that Lee is among the handful pushing for witnesses to be called and documents and other evidence to be collected and presented. Nevertheless, I still think that if there are (say) four votes to convict, Lee would probably be one of them.
Why Lee? Because he has a history of being concerned with overreach in the presidency and the executive branch. That came out again after senators were briefed on the Iran situation in the aftermath of the U.S. drone strike that killed Iran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani, at the Baghdad airport last Friday. Lee emerged from the secure location and absolutely blasted the briefers to the media, calling it “probably the worst briefing I have seen” on military matters and hitting hard against how “insulting and demeaning” it had been because “one of the messages we received from the briefers was, ‘Do not debate, do not discuss the issue of the appropriateness of further military intervention against Iran,’ and that if you do ‘You will be emboldening Iran.’”