As impeachment trial ends, GOP senators face big decision

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The Washington Post

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., walks in the Capitol on the fourth day of the Senate Impeachment trials for former President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill, Friday, Feb 12, 2021 in Washington. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)

WASHINGTON – Most every Senate juror has said they will listen to the evidence in Donald Trump’s historic second impeachment trial, but most minds were likely made up before the trial began. Democrats would need a minimum of 17 Republicans to vote with them to convict Trump of incitement of insurrection, and that appears unlikely.

Still, Democrats say they are holding out hope that they will win over enough Republicans to convict the former president for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, in which five people died. If Trump were convicted, the Senate could take a second vote to ban him from running for office again. A final vote is likely on Saturday.

Here's a look at the Republicans whom Democrats are eyeing as they make final arguments in the case:

THE FREQUENT TRUMP CRITICS

Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine have been clear that they believe Trump incited the riots on Jan. 6. While none of them are locks to vote for conviction, they have joined with Democrats twice to vote against GOP efforts to dismiss the trial.

Collins said after the riots that Trump does “bear responsibility for working up the crowd and inciting this mob.” Murkowski called on Trump to resign after the attack on the Capitol, telling a local paper three days later that “I want him out. He has caused enough damage.”

Romney tweeted on Jan. 6: “What happened at the U.S. Capitol today was an insurrection, incited by the President of the United States.” During the trial, the Democrats showed video of Romney narrowly escaping the mob, redirected by a Capitol Police officer as he unknowingly ran toward the violent crowd.

Sasse said that Trump had “lied to” Americans and the “consequences are now found in five dead Americans and a Capitol building that’s in shambles.” In a recent video, he said Republican politics shouldn’t be about the “weird worship of one dude.”