Red State Senate Democrats Not Yet Convinced They Will Vote to Convict Trump on Articles of Impeachment

CHARLESTON, WV - NOVEMBER 06: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) celebrates at his election day victory party at the Embassy Suites on November 6, 2018 in Charleston, West Virginia. Manchin won his second full Senate term after he defeated West Virginia Republican Senate Candidate Patrick Morrisey. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

If the House of Representatives does end up passing Articles of Impeachment against President Donald Trump, setting up a U.S. Senate trial, there is no guarantee that Democrats in the Senate will be unified behind convicting President Trump in the upper chamber of Congress.

A spokeswoman for Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) told Breitbart News on Monday that the red state Democrat has not yet made up his mind on whether he would vote to convict Trump in the Senate.

“He hasn’t made up his mind and he’s waiting on the articles to come to the Senate,” Manchin spokeswoman Katey McCutcheon said in an email.

The offices of Sens. Doug Jones (D-AL), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), however, have not answered whether those senators intend to vote to convict Trump. But the fact that each of them has not yet said that they intend to vote to convict President Trump could set up a possible scenario whereby President Trump is impeached on a partisan vote with bipartisan and cleared by the Senate with a bipartisan vote supporting him—with bipartisan opposition not just to impeachment but also to conviction, and only partisan support for impeachment or conviction.

At this stage, there are no Republicans in Congress in either the House or Senate who have said they intend to vote to either impeach or convict President Trump. It is expected that if the House Democrats push across an impeachment vote on the floor of the House that if it does pass it will only have Democrats in favor of Articles of Impeachment, while there will likely be bipartisan opposition to Articles of Impeachment.

When the House voted to formally open its “impeachment inquiry” more than a month after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the inquiry via press conference, all Republicans were joined by two Democrats—Reps. Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ) and Collin Peterson (D-MN)—in the bipartisan opposition to the House Democrat leadership’s purely partisan vote. Since then, GOP support has only hardened behind Trump, with many Republican House members who were considered on the fence entering the process voicing their opposition to impeachment and their support for the president—all while Democrats worry they may lose more than just Van Drew and Peterson as they continue in the process. It’s gotten so bad for Democrats that no Republicans are expected to vote for Articles of Impeachment in the House, and only Democrats are expected to support them. But Van Drew and Peterson, while they have not explicitly yet said, are expected to join the opposition again making it bipartisan—and potentially other Democrats who represent districts that Trump won in 2016 may join them.

David Urban, a GOP strategist who ran Pennsylvania for President Trump’s campaign in 2016 and is currently a CNN contributor, joined Breitbart News Sunday on SiriusXM 125 the Patriot Channel this weekend to discuss exactly this.

“In Pennsylvania, I think there are two members—Matt Cartwright, he’s kind of in an R plus two district, and Conor Lamb in Western Pennsylvania, Conor Lamb ran on a promise he wasn’t going to vote for Pelosi for Speaker,” Urban said. “It’s in Western Pennsylvania, my kind of home district area, in southwestern Pennsylvania. He’s got Sean Parnell, I don’t know if you guys know Sean Parnell, but he’s a bestselling author who’s a Marine Corps guy. He’s a real stud, up against Conor Lamb who’s a lawyer who served as well but not like Sean Parnell did. It’s going to be a barnburner out there. I think voters will hold—they’re going to watch and see what Conor Lamb does, those two seats in Pennsylvania particularly. In the Senate, when you get to the Senate, I worked in the Senate during the impeachment of President [Bill] Clinton. I can tell you, those phone lines get lit up by your constituents. I promise you the folks in West Virginia are going to be ringing that phone off the hook and in Arizona they’re going to ring the phone off the hook—they’re going to shut down the phones for Sinema and Manchin and Jones like you say and other ones. Shaheen is up in New Hampshire, and Gary Peters in Michigan. Our friend John James is doing very well in that race. There’s going to be a lot of folks looking over their shoulders hearing footsteps. I think Democrats are going to lose a ton of folks. It’s going to be a bipartisan rebuke against impeachment in the House, and it will be similarly in the Senate. Americans will then see this for how much of a scam and incredibly partisan maneuver it was.”

LISTEN TO DAVID URBAN ON BREITBART NEWS SUNDAY:

Urban, who was once chief of staff to the former Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania long before he switched parties to the Democrats, had earlier in the day confronted one of the more leftist Democrats who supports impeachment during a CNN panel. The Democrat, Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO), had falsely claimed on CNN that he did not come out in favor of impeachment before seeing evidence for the case. Later, the Trump campaign found video that proved Neguse had in fact endorsed impeaching President Trump long before any of these proceedings in Congress—and that he lied on CNN in his exchange with Urban. In his appearance on Breitbart News Sunday, Urban detailed how this cavalier attitude from the leftist wing of the Democrat Party on impeachment is turning people off on their case—and rallying the opposition to impeachment to bipartisan levels.

If the House passes Articles of Impeachment, the Senate would need 67 votes to convict President Trump and remove him from office. There are 53 Republican senators, all of whom are expected to at this stage vote against conviction—in other words, to clear President Trump—meaning there is next to zero chance Democrats would be able to remove Trump through this process. To do so, all 47 Democrats would need to vote to convict Trump—and they would need to convert at least 20 Republican senators to their cause, which it is now becoming more and more unlikely that they would even get one Republican senator never mind 20. But holding together Senate Democrats behind an increasingly partisan impeachment push is something that emerging fissures in the Democrat conference in the Senate suggest may not happen.

The New York Times, back in early November, reported that Democrats are concerned that Manchin and Sinema may vote against convicting Trump if the House impeaches him setting up a Senate trial.

“Democrats say there is a strong likelihood that neither Mr. Manchin nor Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Democrat of Arizona, would vote to convict Mr. Trump, meaning at least 22 Republicans would then have to defect to reach the 67-vote threshold for removal from office,” Carl Hulse wrote for the Times on Nov. 8.

Manchin, in addition to his office’s comment to Breitbart News on Monday for this story, detailed how he is for now withholding judgment in an interview last week.

“Before we go down this road and we’re going to be voting on removing a president or not, you want to make sure the facts are solid,” Manchin said last Thursday in a local news interview after the conclusion of the House Democrats’ fact-finding efforts of the impeachment inquiry. “We haven’t seen the facts yet. We’ve heard a lot and there’s been testimony on a lot, but there’s a lot of classified facts that we’re going to have a chance to go look at in the SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility), which is the secure area, and see what matches up.”

While Sinema’s office has not replied to a request for comment on Monday, she did issue a statement back in September offering concerns about the process becoming as partisan as it has since become.

“Arizonans deserve a government that upholds our Constitutional values,” Sinema said in the September statement according to November story in the Arizona Republic. “Partisan politics have no place in addressing these serious allegations. This process may require the Senate to fulfill a Constitutional role, so it is the duty of all senators — including myself — to avoid pre-judging facts or reaching conclusions.”

While Sinema and Manchin are, according to that November Times piece from Hulse, the most likely Senate Democrats to vote against convicting Trump on House-passed Articles of Impeachment if it gets to that stage, others like Jones—who faces voters again next November—has said he has not yet decided where he is.

Jones, whose office has also not replied to a request from Breitbart News on how he intends to vote on a potential Senate impeachment conviction vote, said in early October at a town hall in Alabama according to the Associated Press that he has not yet made up his mind.

“I’m not making a judgment about where we are on any of this because it’s too early,” Jones said.

Those comments from Jones were from before former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions entered the race to challenge him for his old seat in the U.S. Senate. Sessions, who has immediately become the GOP frontrunner for the nomination in Alabama, told Breitbart News in a recent interview that he considers the Democrats’ partisan efforts to impeach President Trump to be “dangerous.”

“It’s an abuse of impeachment,” Sessions said. “It’s dangerous for the republic. The Constitution says that impeachment requires a conviction for treason, bribery, high crimes, and misdemeanors. They’ve not even been able to articulate a crime. The Department of Justice has, I believe, rejected the idea that this could amount to bribery, which some of them are trying to say because they have nothing else to say.”

According to that Associated Press story quoting Jones from that early October town hall, Alabama GOP chairwoman Terri Lathan said in a rival news conference that if Jones votes for impeachment he will be “held accountable” by the voters of Alabama.

“We are all watching and will hold him accountable if he joins his party trying to upend our constitution,” Lathan said.

Similarly, Peters in Michigan faces a tough re-election against likely GOP nominee John James. James, a businessman and U.S. Army pilot, stunned political observers with a much-stronger-than-expected showing against Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) but still fell slightly short. James is running again, this time against the much weaker Peters, and is polling in a tie or virtual tie in almost all public polling conducted a year out from November 2020.

Back in early October, Peters conducted a number of local news interviews voicing support for investigation but cautioning against rushing to remove Trump from office quickly without seeing all of the facts.

“Well, the process is going to move forward,” Peters said in one interview. “It’s important to collect all of the facts regarding the situation, and certainly what facts are out there are very troublesome. There’s absolutely no question about that.”

In a deeper statement his office issued in late September, Peters said he will be a “juror” should the process come to the U.S. Senate—and that he would not be stating his position on a potential looming impeachment conviction vote at this time.

Again, Peters’ office has not replied to multiple requests from Breitbart News on Monday as to whether he has as of yet decided whether he would vote to convict President Trump in a potential U.S. Senate vote.

Then, there is Shaheen in New Hampshire. Shaheen, who survived a hard-fought challenge from former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown—now the U.S. ambassador to New Zealand—in the 2014 U.S. Senate race potentially faces former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowksi in 2020.

Shaheen is the lead character in Hulse’s November Times story, in which she is quoted saying she considers a potential impeachment conviction vote a “tough vote” to take.

“It should be a tough vote for everybody because we should take this issue seriously,” Shaheen said. “People ought to be looking at how real the allegations are, whether they are impeachable offenses, and whether the president engaged in them.”

Shaheen’s office has also not replied to a request for comment on whether she has decided how she would vote on this if it came to the Senate.

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