Mitch McConnell Goes Limp On Impeachment Witnesses
Never, never, NEVER, bet against Mitch McConnell. That guy is as competent as he is evil, and he knows how to whip his caucus. That said ... LOL forever! Mitch ain't got the votes to put this impeachment to bed without calling witnesses, at least not yet.
The Wall Street Journal was first to report yesterday that, after Trump's lazyass legal team noped out before 3 p.m., McConnell assembled the GOP senators to concede that he doesn't have the votes. Which means that at least one other Republican besides Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski looked at the Bolton revelations and reasoned that #TeamSham was maybe not the safest place to be if you want to walk down the street without getting the full Giuliani treatment.
You so hate to see it!
The Journal reports that McConnell "had a card with 'yes,' 'no,' and 'maybes' marked on it, apparently a whip count, but he didn't show it to senators." Safe bet that the three vulnerable Republicans who need to put this behind them without pissing off Trump's base are in the "no" column.
Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado, Martha McSally of Arizona and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who face competitive races in the fall, addressed their colleagues in the meeting, people familiar with the matter said. Mr. Gardner said a longer trial would lead to more Democratic attacks, according to a spokesman, and Mr. Tillis called impeachment a sham. Ms. McSally's office said she doesn't comment on what happens in private meetings.
So who else defected? Is it retiring Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander? Did Oklahoma's James Lankford, a graduate of the Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary, get religion after his suggestion to hold a book club in the SCIF to read Bolton's manuscript got laughed out of the chamber? Or is there someone else out there who's done the rudimentary math and worked out that every sordid detail is inevitably going to come out in the next three months, before voters have time to forget about this whole unpleasant episode?
Meanwhile, back at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the president's goons are out there warning the little Gippers that they'll find their heads on pikes if they don't fall in line and make this impeachment go away STAT.
"We can rearrange the dominoes on the board. The outcome isn't changing," Scott Jennings, a longtime Republican adviser with ties to the Trump White House, told Politico. "All this maneuvering — there is no point. This is a prudent path forward for the president." Which acknowledges the reality that there will never be 20 Republican votes to convict Trump, but fails to take into account the longterm damage to the party as a whole, much less to individual senators, from jamming their fingers in their ears and shouting LALALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU as the shitstorm of incriminating evidence roars around them.
And one more time from the cheap seats.
MEADOWS: There are always political repercussions for every vote you take. There is no vote that is higher profile than this.
LESKO: Some of the Democrats will definitely have repercussions if they vote against the president in districts where President Trump won.
COLLINS: The question needs to be flipped. Where's a courageous Democrat who'll actually look at the facts and vote in favor of not impeaching this president?
Is Debbie Lesko familiar with SENATE? Does she think those people run in "districts"? And has she seen Donald Trump's approval rating in Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Arizona? Because he's under water, which is exactly why he went apeshit and tried to take out Joe Biden in the first place.
Then Elise Stefanik brought her big Permit Patty Energy to bear, threatening to call Hunter Biden if Democrats insist on putting John Bolton on the stand. Which is really not a statement about the probative value of the evidence, as much as a threat of mutually assured destruction. So weird, since we were led to believe Republicans were deeply offended by that sort of thing.
Mitch McConnell might still pull this one out and keep the defectors down to three, so a vote to call witnesses would fail. A White House official told the Journal, "We are still in the game." And Senate whip John Cornyn says they'll take Alexander or whoever it is in the cloakroom and put the fear of God in him if they have to.
We'll find out Friday if Mitch manages to hold the line. Fingers crossed!
Follow Liz Dye (FKA your FDF) on Twitter!
Please click here to keep your Wonkette snarkin'!
Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.