Politico reports that the Senate impeachment trial probably won't go full wingnut.
Senate GOP leaders have signaled they intend to defend Trump wholeheartedly, but they’re also loath to let the upper chamber descend into chaos or divide their caucus ahead of a tough 2020 cycle. And even if Senate Republicans wanted to embrace the hard-line posture of the House, the party’s narrow majority makes that all but impossible under Senate rules.
Calling controversial witnesses will require near lockstep party unity from 51 of the 53 Senate Republicans to make any procedural maneuvers, a tough task given the diverse views in the GOP, according to senators and aides.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has privately urged senators to avoid divisive votes on impeachment motions, and other senators are eager to ensure that the GOP doesn’t lose votes — or control of a trial in their own chamber.
So as carefully as they can, given the political need to stay aligned with Trump, GOP senators are pouring cold water on the idea that they can or will produce a Christmas tree of TrumpWorld demands during a trial that will determine whether Trump’s presidency survives the winter.
Apparently the Senate won't be putting Adam Schiff on trial, or either Joe or Hunter Biden, or the whistleblower.
“I don’t even know whether there are going to be witnesses. And it seems the witnesses should be relevant to the inquiry,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).
What Mitch McConnell cares about most is preserving his Senate majority, and he apparently thinks the way to do that is to avoid offending moderate voters in Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, Iowa, Kansas, Georgia, and Texas who might recoil in horror if the Senate conducts the trial of Rudy Giuliani's and Devin Nunes's dreams.
McConnell is assuming that the Fox-addled Republican base will be content with a quiet, red-meat-deficient trial that ends with the president acquitted on all charges. But will that really be enough for them? House Republicans and right-wing media stars will be demanding a trial for the real malefactors. Some GOP senators in swing states will be facing primary challenges from Trumpists. Can the demand for retribution against the hating Democrats be kept in check? Will acquittal be enough?
When the Senate trial is over, I think McConnell (also up for reelection), Lindsey Graham (ditto), and the entire Senate GOP will be regarded as RINOs, with the possible exception of any senator (Ted Cruz?) who joins with the House loonies in demanding an "impeach the impeachers" turning of the tables. That impression might wear off by November, but I wouldn't be certain.
Or, of course, after a sedate the trial, Graham or another senator might announce a phony investigation of Biden, Ukraine, and the 2016 Clinton campaign just in time for the general election campaign. The GOP base will be clamoring for at least that much.
Republished with permission of No More Mr. Nice Blog