Cruz, who made the remarks during Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures,” first stated that he does not believe any GOP senators could vote to remove the president. But later he told Fox that the scenario is entirely within the realm of possibility.
“It is certainly possible,” the senator said. “And there are a couple that could vote that way. But I think anyone voting on the facts, anyone voting on the law, this is a very easy vote,” Cruz said.
“What they [the Democrats] have alleged is not a high crime or misdemeanor,” he continued, and he described the articles of impeachment passed in the House mostly along party lines as “weak.”
A few Republican senators have expressed misgivings in recent weeks about the trial potentially being coordinated by the Senate’s GOP leadership and the White House. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told media outlets this month about the coordination plan, but Republicans in the Senate have largely been in defense of Trump.
One member of the GOP, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told KTUU in Anchorage last week that she didn’t support McConnell’s comments about coordinating the trial with the Trump administration.
“For me to prejudge and say there’s nothing there or on the other hand, he should be impeached yesterday, that’s wrong, in my view, that’s wrong,” she told the station.
Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Murkowski have broken with the White House on several issues in the past. Although there is speculation that some Democratic senators, including Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Doug Jones (Ala.), might break with their party to acquit Trump, Manchin has said he is “very much torn” on the issue, and Jones has suggested he could vote to acquit.
To impeach a president, the Senate requires a 67-vote supermajority, which is in contrast to the House’s simple majority to pass articles of impeachment. With the current make-up of the legislative body, every Democrat, the Senate’s two independents, and 20 Republicans would have to vote in favor of removing Trump. No president in U.S. history has ever been removed.
Over the weekend, a number of Republicans in the Senate indicated they are pushing for a speedy trial to acquit Trump.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters that his goal is “to have as short a trial as possible.”
“I think there’s a desire by senators, quite honestly, to get this chapter closed and moved forward,” Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told The Hill.
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) told the news website that “shorter is better for a lot of reasons” before adding that Americans “are ready to move on.”
House Democrats earlier this month voted to approve two articles of impeachment against Trump: Obstruction of Congress and abuse of power. They allege that Trump misused his office by withholding military aid in exchange for investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden, which Trump has repeatedly denied, and they’ve also said his administration blocked Congress during its investigation. No Republican in the House voted in favor of the articles, and a few Democrats voted with Republicans against one or both of the articles.