Several Republican senators claimed that several Democrats might break with their party and vote to acquit President Donald Trump during the looming Senate trial.
While it’s not clear who will vote to acquit, Senate Republicans told The Hill this week that one or two Democrats may defect, which would allow them to tout his acquittal as bipartisan—the same strategy the GOP has adopted after several House Democrats voted against impeachment earlier this month.
“I think we might have a couple,” Perdue said. “I don’t want to speculate on who—obviously that puts too much pressure on them—but I really think we have people on both sides that are trying to get to a reasonable, nonpartisan answer.”
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), the No. 3 Republican in the Senate, said he is not sure if any Democrats would vote to acquit.
But he told The Hill that “there are a couple of Democrats who are thinking about that. And you know who they are.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told Fox News, during an interview, there might be potential Democratic defections in the Senate. “It wouldn’t surprise me if we got one or two Democrats,” McConnell told the news outlet on Dec. 17. “My hope is that there won’t be a single Republican who votes for either of these articles in the House,” he continued.
So far, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Doug Jones (D-Ala.), have been considered the most likely to go against their party. Both states voted hugely in favor of Trump in 2016.
Manchin, meanwhile, broke with his party to support Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch in 2017. He was also the only Democrat to support Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
Manchin has told reporters that he is “very much torn” on the impeachment process. “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,” he said on Dec. 11.
Jones also suggested last week that he might vote to acquit the president if the “dots aren’t connected.”
“I didn’t sit in front of the TV set the entire time the last two or three months. I’ve been trying to read this. I’m trying to see if the dots get connected. If that is the case, then I think it’s a serious matter. I think it’s an impeachable matter,” he told ABC News on Dec. 22.
“But if those dots aren’t connected and there are other explanations that I think are consistent with innocence, I will go that way too. I have got to make sure that I—what I really want to see, though, is to—to fill in the gaps. There are gaps,” Jones added.
Jones was elected to the Senate in 2018 despite Trump winning Alabama by nearly 28 points. The senator’s opponent, former judge Roy Jones, was accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault during the race.
As The Hill noted, Manchin votes with Trump about 53 percent of the time, which is the most of any Democratic senator.