After months of sham hearings, partisan witnesses, and still no evidence President Donald Trump did anything wrong on his July phone call with the Ukrainian president, House Democrats are about to officially vote on impeachment.
The Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives will officially vote on Wednesday (Dec. 18) to charge the president with obstruction of Congress and abuse of power.
Assuming the House votes to impeach Trump, the impeachment trial will then move to the Republican-controlled Senate in January 2020.
And according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republicans — it won’t last long at all.
Senate Republicans do not expect to call witnesses, will not drag the trial out for months, and will simply call a vote to acquit the president after proceedings have run their course.
Senate impeachment rules require a majority vote to call witnesses, and with just two out of 53 votes to spare, there is no “appetite” among Republicans to pursue testimony from people that Democrats blocked Republicans from subpoenaing during the House investigation.
Indeed, Republicans might forgo calling witnesses altogether, saying minds are made up on Trump’s guilt or innocence and that testimony at trial on the Senate floor would draw out the proceedings unnecessarily.
“Here’s what I want to avoid: this thing going on longer than it needs to,” Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told the Washington Examiner. “I want to end this.”
Top Republicans are leaning toward calling for a vote to acquit Trump immediately after House Democrats and the White House have delivered their arguments to head off partisan disagreements that might lengthen the trial.
“At that point, I would expect that most members would be ready to vote and wouldn’t need more information,” said John Barrasso of Wyoming, the No. 3-ranked Senate Republican. “Many people have their minds pretty well made up.”
“It becomes endless motions to call people, and I’m not sure what anybody gains from all that,” said John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 2-ranked Senate Republican.
Some Republicans want to call witnesses and expose the Democrats.
“Not sure how you have a fair trial without calling witnesses,” said one Trump ally in the House.
“How many senators would enjoy a Trump rally? That’s probably your whip count for calling Hunter,” a Republican senator said, requesting anonymity to speak candidly.
Any decision to forgo witnesses could anger Trump supporters.
“President Trump’s allies will want to see witnesses called. How many, and which witnesses, will quickly become a dividing line,” said Jason Miller, a former adviser to Trump who now co-hosts a podcast with Steve Bannon that defends the president against impeachment.
So why acquittal over dismissal?
Acquittal, rather than a procedural vote to dismiss the articles of impeachment, would definitively clear the president of the charges raised against him by Democrats.
It would make more sense to vote on the articles of impeachment than it would to simply dismiss them — that way Trump can be completely cleared.
According to the U.S. Constitution, it would take 67 votes in the Senate to convict Trump and remove him from office — which will never happen.
So, the trial will last a few weeks, and then the Senate will easily vote to acquit Trump given Republicans control a 53-47 majority in the upper chamber.
McConnell has also made it clear how this is going to play out in the Senate.
“We all know how it’s going to end. There is no chance the president is going to be removed from office,” McConnell said on Thursday night.
Democrats have no case.
They have accused Trump of just about everything imaginable, and after months of wasting taxpayer dollars to hold impeachment hearings, they still can’t prove the president did anything wrong.
And this impeachment witch hunt is going to end sometime early next year.