WASHINGTON – Most every senator has pledged to 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 they will win over enough Republicans to convict the former president for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, in which five people died. But that hope dimmed when word came Saturday before the trial resumed that Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell would vote to acquit Trump.
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.
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 riot. While none of them is a lock to vote for conviction, they have joined with Democrats twice to vote against GOP efforts to dismiss the trial.
Collins said after the siege 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.