So far in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, Republican senators have been lockstep with one another and the president’s interests, not showing any signs of cracking, save for an early procedural move to add an additional day of arguments for both legal sides to have in making their arguments for or defense against removing Trump from office.
There may be a compelling reason for them not to act against the president — a threat that came from his legal team that doing so could be political suicide.
According to a CBS News report from Chief Congressional Correspondent Nancy Cordes, voting against the president — whether that means in favor of indictment altogether, or merely supporting procedural moves that aren’t to his liking is unclear — could result in Trump using his fervent base to hurt those who do so, possibly in the form of supporting a primary challenger to their respective re-election campaigns in the future.
Trump is, if anything, a president who knows how to hold onto a grudge.
One confidant of the president told Cordes, according to her report, that if senators “vote against the president,” their “head will be on a pike.”
In opening statements, House managers examined the debunked conspiracy theories invoked by Pres. Trump.
A @POTUS confidant tells CBS News that GOP senators were warned: “vote against the president & your head will be on a pike.”
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) January 23, 2020
Toward the end of Cordes’s segment, the correspondent noted that Trump’s legal team gets its first crack at defending the president on Saturday — a day that’s typically not seen as a “high viewership” day for Americans to take notice of.
Instead, Trump’s legal counsel may do a shortened introductory session on Saturday, starting their defense of the president’s conduct in earnest on Monday, Cordes said in her report.
Indeed, Trump himself tweeted out a complaint on Friday morning about having to start his legal defense on a day when most of the American public might not be paying attention to it.
After having been treated unbelievably unfairly in the House, and then having to endure hour after hour of lies, fraud & deception by Shifty Schiff, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer & their crew, looks like my lawyers will be forced to start on Saturday, which is called Death Valley in T.V.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 24, 2020
“Looks like my lawyers will be forced to start on Saturday, which is called Death Valley in TV,” Trump said.
Much like House managers were given the same time allotment, Trump’s legal defense will be granted 24 hours over the course of three days to mount a legal defense on his behalf.