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A Secret Senate Vote

Post # 152, Bob McKnight's Florida Commentary

According to press accounts, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was furious with President Donald Trump's public inciting of the rioters on the Capitol last week. The anger was a little surprising since Trump has been spewing the teasing to violence of his right wing base for a long time. It is said that when Speaker Pelosi insisted on going forward with immediate Impeachment of the President, McConnell realized that this was finally a sure way to rid Trump of his grip on the eviscerated Republican Party. Of that, the Leader was right--if convicted in the Senate, Trump could never serve in federal office again. But McConnell also knew that if his base became aware of this threat, they could re-attack the Capitol again.

So, with this back drop, I think there is a real possibility that soon to be Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) will seek and obtain the 51 Democrat votes to require the Impeachment vote be in secret. He might be able to get the required Republican votes because they would like to get rid of Trump without being identified. That would remove any identity of Senate votes and probably assure Trump's conviction. I am sure Trump vehement supporters would insist on public votes, but there are probably 10-15 Senators that would welcome a secret vote. Those votes plus the 5 or so already likely to vote for impeachment would probably be enough to convict. But, this strategy would require near complete control of the Senate Republicans by their Leader to avoid more attacks on our government.

PS: In my last Post on a Self Pardon for Trump, issued by Trump, there has been some confusion about whether a President can issue Pardons after being impeached. As of this writing, the President stands impeached, and the Constitution says a Pardon cannot be issued "in the case of impeachment." This assertion was confirmed by legal scholars in a Washington Post article last week. If he is no longer President next week, he has no power to issue Pardons. So my reading on the issue is clear. Trump has lost his power to Pardon anyone.



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