President Donald Trump wants an option for his Senate impeachment trial that would lead to an immediate dismissal of all charges against him — including articles of impeachment charging him with abusing the power of his office and obstruction of Congress.
But Trump is facing blowback from members of his own party, who see the idea of an immediate dismissal of those charges in the Senate as not feasible or not advantageous to his current predicament.
On Sunday, Trump tweeted (then retweeted on Monday as well) his belief that a Senate trial should include the option for dismissing outright the charges laid out in the House-passed articles of impeachment. Having the trial proceed at all, he said, “it gives the partisan Democrat Witch Hunt credibility that it otherwise does not have.”
Many believe that by the Senate giving credence to a trial based on the no evidence, no crime, read the transcripts, “no pressure” Impeachment Hoax, rather than an outright dismissal, it gives the partisan Democrat Witch Hunt credibility that it otherwise does not have. I agree!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2020
But other Republicans, including Sen. Roy Blunt, the fourth-ranking member of the party in the Senate, said that the votes just aren’t there to dismiss the charges.
“I don’t think there’s any interest on our side of dismissing. Certainly, there aren’t 51 votes for a motion to dismiss,” Blunt said, per reporting from the Washington Post.
Other Republicans are worried that dismissing the trial may deny Trump and his defenders the opportunity to defend his record, as Democrats had been able to demonstrate why impeachment was warranted on the House’s side of things.
Indeed, in the court of public opinion, Trump is already losing, with a number of polls showing Americans are split on whether he should be removed from office, and some showing that a majority of voters want the Senate to indict him.
There’s another reason for why a Senate trial may be beneficial to Republicans and the president: not holding a trial at all on impeachment may play into the narrative that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats are now voicing, that dismissal would amount to a “cover up.”
“Dismissing is a cover up,” Pelosi said in an interview over the weekend, according to Salon. “If they want to go that route…they will have to be accountable for not having a fair trial.”