Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) told CNN he is “torn” on whether to back conviction of President Donald Trump in a U.S. Senate trial should the House of Representatives pass Articles of Impeachment.
Manchin said he is “very much torn” on the issue of impeaching Trump, a huge blow to Democrats as they seek to hold their party together heading into a contentious House floor vote next week.
We have a divided country. On the other hand, we have equal branch of governments, responsibilities in the Constitution. There are a lot of things at stake here. The future of our country. And the future of how we’re able to do our business depends on how we handle this.
Manchin’s comments come after his office told Breitbart News earlier this week that he is undecided on how he would vote on such a matter in a Senate trial. Some Democrats, according to the New York Times, expect to lose Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) on an impeachment conviction vote in the U.S. Senate, meaning that Democrats face an even higher than previously expected hurdle to secure a conviction in Congress’s upper chamber should the House impeach the president.
To convict a president in the U.S. Senate, 67 senators would need to vote for conviction. There are 53 Senate Republicans, all of whom are, at this time, expected to vote to acquit President Trump in the U.S. Senate, especially since all House Republicans are expected to join at least a handful of– and maybe more–House Democrats to oppose the increasingly partisan impeachment vote.
There are also concerns among Democrats beyond Manchin and Sinema, as Sens. Gary Peters (D-MI) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) face tough re-election battles in their respective states of Michigan and New Hampshire, while Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) similarly faces an uphill path to re-election in deep-red Alabama.
Manchin’s confirmation that he is “torn” on impeachment–by no means a for granted vote either way at this stage, is a deep blow to the Democrat cause and comes as he also told CNN he thinks it would be perfectly acceptable for former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden to be called to testify in a Senate trial.
“I don’t have a problem with Hunter Biden” testifying,” Manchin said. “That’s all a part of this.”
The GOP having bipartisan support to subpoena Hunter Biden in a U.S. Senate trial of Articles of Impeachment against President Trump is probably music to a lot of Republicans’ ears, in that the GOP has been debating how aggressive to be in a Senate trial seeking to acquit President Trump.
The White House has made clear in no uncertain terms that the president expects Hunter Biden to be called as a witness in the trial, and now the president has the backing of an unlikely ally in Manchin, as bipartisan support for expanding a Senate trial to zone in even further on the Bidens now exists.