And then there were two — or three, depending on where one puts Mitt Romney. With 52 Senate Republicans on record for acquittal votes this afternoon, the outcome of today’s vote on the verdict for Donald Trump’s impeachment trial will be a majority for acquittal. The only remaining questions are whether the acquittal and conviction caucuses will be bipartisan or strictly based on party affiliation.
One of the three supposedly persuadable Democrats announced this morning that he’s not as persuadable as some thought:
“After many sleepless nights, I have reluctantly concluded that the evidence is sufficient to convict the President for both abuse of power and obstruction of Congress,” he said in a statement.
Jones’s announcement comes hours before the Senate’s votes on the two House-passed articles of impeachment: abuse of power over the delayed Ukraine aid and obstructing Congress’s investigations into those actions.
Jones has long been viewed by Republicans, and some of his own colleagues, as one of the few Democratic senators who could vote to acquit Trump on one or both articles of impeachment. Two others, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.), are viewed as potential swing votes but given no indication about how they will ultimately vote.
Actually, Joe Manchin has given an indication as to when we’ll get an indication. He’s keeping mum until he casts his vote:
STILLNOT SAYING: when I asked Senator Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia, how he’s going to vote today he responded “4 o clock” three times on his way into a committee
— Lauren Fox (@FoxReports) February 5, 2020
It’s impossible to read much into that delay, other than maaaayyyybeeee Manchin is still mulling over his choices. Kyrsten Sinema, the third potentially persuadable Senate Democrat, is likewise staying mum. Romney, by the way, will hold a presser at 2 pm ET today to reveal his decision, which Allahpundit will cover in a later post.
This might seem surprising, given Jones’ electoral position in Alabama, but Jones was always the longest shot of the three to flip. Jones isn’t really a moderate — he’s a liberal who got incredibly lucky in a special election in drawing the worst candidate that Republicans could have chosen. As long as the GOP doesn’t renominate Roy Moore to run against Jones this year, Jones is toast regardless of how he votes. He has nothing to gain in letting Trump off the hook, and potentially something to lose — a Cabinet position in a future Democratic administration, or a House seat in a friendlier district, perhaps. That’s why Jones isn’t splitting his vote in a pretense of scrupulosity over the nonsensical obstruction charge. He’s all in, and probably has been since Day One.
Manchin and Sinema have more to lose, potentially, depending on the circumstances. Perhaps they want to wait to see what Romney does. If he flips on Trump, then they have less political cover to cross the aisle. Even if Romney only flips on the abuse of power charge, it still leaves them twisting in the wind with some of their constituents. We might end up waiting on them both until 4 pm.