Trump Impeachment: Senate hugely unlikely to convict

This article first appeared at on 26th January 2021

Donald Trump’s Senate Trial will begin on February 8, charged with ‘incitement of insurrection’, after files of impeachment were sent from the House of Representatives related to the insurrection and attack on the Capitol.

When he was first impeached last year, Republicans controlled the Senate and therefore the rules, enabling them to block witnesses and evidence. Only 48 of 100 Senators voted to convict him of ‘abuse of power’, 47 of ‘obstruction of Congress’, 67 are needed to convict.

Trump must face fairer trial this time

A key difference is that control has now switched to the Democrats, ensuring what Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer promises to be as a ‘full, fair trial’ but, to convict, they still need at least 17 Republicans to vote against their former leader.

Betfair’s market strongly signals they will fall short. ‘No’ in ‘Will the Senate Convict Trump’ is rated 93% likely at odds of [1.07]. The odds have collapsed from an earlier peak of [1.48].

This despite a stream of shocking revelations from video footage and charge sheets of insurrectionists. There is little indication of Republicans turning against Trump, or even challenging his ‘Big Lie’ that the election was stolen.

House GOP rebellion fell well short

When the House voted to impeach, a paltry ten Republicans supported it. Not even half the number being mooted 24 hours earlier.

It was widely reported that Congressmen felt too intimidated to speak out. They’d seen the harassment and threats doled out to critics, or state officials merely doing their job after the election. A purge is already underway.

A tiny degree of uncertainty persists, because most of these serving Republicans are far from died-in-the-wool Trumpites. They have opposed him occasionally, on huge issues. For instance they out-vetoed him on the recent Defense Bill – which includes a profoundly important clause banning dark money.

Likewise last summer the GOP-led Senate Intelligence Committee published the most damning, detailed report on Trump’s connections to and probably compromised relationship with Russia.

Their unwillingness to publicly discuss their own report, however, illustrated their fear. Whereas that story was noticed by a tiny percentage of engaged commentators, this Senate trial is in full view of his supporters.

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