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Tue Nov 12, 2019, 08:00 AM

There's a Surprisingly Plausible Path to Removing Trump From Office

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/11/12/path-to-removing-donald-trump-from-office-229911

It would take just three Republican senators to turn the impeachment vote into a secret ballot. It’s not hard to imagine what would happen then.

By JULEANNA GLOVER November 12, 2019

Juleanna Glover has worked as an adviser for several Republican politicians, including George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, John Ashcroft and Rudy Giuliani, and advised the presidential campaigns of John McCain and Jeb Bush.

By most everyone’s judgment, the Senate will not vote to remove President Donald Trump from office if the House impeaches him. But what if senators could vote on impeachment by secret ballot? If they didn’t have to face backlash from constituents or the media or the president himself, who knows how many Republican senators would vote to remove?

A secret impeachment ballot might sound crazy, but it’s actually quite possible. In fact, it would take only three senators to allow for that possibility.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he will immediately move to hold a trial to adjudicate the articles of impeachment if and when the Senate receives them from the House of Representatives. Article I, Section 3, of the Constitution does not set many parameters for the trial, except to say that “the Chief Justice shall preside,” and “no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.” That means the Senate has sole authority to draft its own rules for the impeachment trial, without judicial or executive branch oversight.

During the last impeachment of a president, Bill Clinton, the rules were hammered out by Democrats and Republicans in a collaborative process, as then Senate leaders Trent Lott and Tom Daschle recently pointed out in a Washington Post op-ed. The rules passed unanimously. That’s unlikely this time, given the polarization that now defines our politics. McConnell and his fellow Republicans are much more likely to dictate the rules with little input from Democrats.

But, according to current Senate procedure, McConnell will still need a simple majority—51 of the 53 Senate Republicans—to support any resolution outlining rules governing the trial. That means that if only three Republican senators were to break from the caucus, they could block any rule they didn’t like. (Vice President Mike Pence can’t break ties in impeachment matters.) Those three senators, in turn, could demand a secret ballot and condition their approval of the rest of the rules on getting one.

</snip>


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Reply There's a Surprisingly Plausible Path to Removing Trump From Office (Original post)
Dennis Donovan Nov 12 OP
Vinca Nov 12 #1
olegramps Nov 12 #14
PJMcK Nov 12 #36
Teach-only-love Nov 12 #23
olegramps Nov 13 #47
patricia92243 Nov 12 #2
Thomas Hurt Nov 12 #3
certainot Nov 12 #35
beachbumbob Nov 12 #4
onenote Nov 12 #5
crickets Nov 12 #13
Maru Kitteh Nov 12 #37
RKP5637 Nov 12 #6
brooklynite Nov 12 #7
lostnfound Nov 12 #8
whopis01 Nov 12 #17
uponit7771 Nov 12 #9
unblock Nov 12 #11
unblock Nov 12 #10
Layzeebeaver Nov 12 #12
Pacifist Patriot Nov 12 #25
Layzeebeaver Nov 12 #39
Hortensis Nov 12 #15
onenote Nov 12 #18
Hortensis Nov 12 #27
onenote Nov 12 #31
Hortensis Nov 12 #38
onenote Nov 12 #40
Hortensis Nov 12 #42
orangecrush Nov 12 #16
calimary Nov 12 #19
sandensea Nov 12 #20
bucolic_frolic Nov 12 #21
onenote Nov 12 #41
Firestorm49 Nov 12 #22
StarfishSaver Nov 12 #24
Pacifist Patriot Nov 12 #26
Baked Potato Nov 12 #28
Bob Munck Nov 12 #29
onenote Nov 12 #32
Bob Munck Nov 12 #43
onenote Nov 12 #44
tinrobot Nov 12 #30
Cosmocat Nov 12 #33
BadGimp Nov 12 #34
Qutzupalotl Nov 12 #45
Mike Niendorff Nov 13 #46

Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 08:05 AM

1. That's interesting, but the GOP is now a full blown cult so it would never happen.

They must show their undying love for Dear Leader to keep their moronic Trump-voting base appeased. I had another idea about how to get rid of him. We start a "we don't deserve you" campaign. Make Don think he's just too wonderful for such a menial position and that he should go back to private life where he can make a real difference (bilking and scamming his vulnerable devotees, but whatever).

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Response to Vinca (Reply #1)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 09:06 AM

14. Our nation is in the initial grip of Fascism. The new Fuhrer has taken up residence as we slept.

One criminal Republican administration after another has increasingly defied the laws of the land. People are so oblivious to the threat that I will not be totally surprise if he isn't reelected.

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Response to olegramps (Reply #14)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 11:58 AM

36. I often share your pessimism (n/t)

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Response to Vinca (Reply #1)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 10:25 AM

23. Most of the Republican Senators would love to have a secret vote.

 

They would not be on the record, so they would lose no support. I think there might be three Republicans who might be retiring or are in anti-trump states who might publicly call for a secret ballot.

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Response to Teach-only-love (Reply #23)

Wed Nov 13, 2019, 10:24 AM

47. I agree, but isn't it a sad day when elected officials don't have the character to honor the truth.

It amounts to literally selling your soul for financial gain. We have come to the stage where every action and word is predicated on how it will affect a person's electability and can take precedence over the respect for truth. Nixon set the Republican party on course destined for the depths of darkness in which the most nefarious actions are commonly disregarded as normal. The result is the nation subsuming to virtual tribalism like howling barbarians at each other's throats. I was surprised to see at long last the crux of the issue laid at its source: The repeal of the Fairness Doctrine on CNN this morning.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 08:11 AM

2. Great idea, but how to get it to the powers that be.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 08:13 AM

3. If McConnell has a trial at all...

it will be in public so that they can run their smears of the witnesses, try to drag the whistle blower in as well as the Bidens.

The House is having their public hearings, the GOP will tit for tat and do the same.

Honestly, I don't think we will ever get to a vote.

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Response to Thomas Hurt (Reply #3)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 11:25 AM

35. republican senators need to see protests. we can't accept the 'let the voters decide' bullshit

he needs to be convicted and removed, the planet doesn't have time and putin/gop is gearing up all sorts of interference.

the problem is lumbaugh and his dittohead/teabag/trumper army. but dems can destroy rw radio without a lot of activism- GOP reps and senators know how important republican talk radio is to the party and their own reelections and seeing protests at these 87 universities will not only scare the crap out of them, it will push them to vote against trump.

260 or over 40% of limbaugh's 600 radio stations depend on those schools to keep broadcasting sports on them to attract advertising. if one university starts the process of looking for apolitical alternatives others will follow. CU may have already done that - the loudest radio station in the Colorado state area demoted lumbaugh to a lesser station and it may have been relative to CU activists. if that's why he was demoted and media exposes it, other unis will do the same. republicans will freak out and get more media to it. boycotts, made much easier thanks to artificial intelligence, will loom. the ad industry wants those radio stations' ears and will have to start asking clients if they really want to support trump or risk losing those who don't. many of them have been bundled onto those stations, for discounts and will not say yes. market demand will destroy the radio monopoly and trump's major intimidator.

if republican politicians think the end of RW radio is comming they going to dump trump to try to stay with that part of the republican base and independents who are not the rabid and vastly overestimated hardcore trump dittoheads that believe everything lumbaugh says.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 08:16 AM

4. good to have dreams, but this will never happen

I still doubt McConnel will allow a trial to even take place

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 08:26 AM

5. Nope. Article I, Section 5 of the US Constitution:

"the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal."

To say nothing of the fact that Democrats are not going to vote for secrecy.

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Response to onenote (Reply #5)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 08:58 AM

13. Thank goodness Democrats are not going to vote for secrecy.

They all need to own a vote this important. Plus, I don't trust a secret vote. It's a trick.

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Response to onenote (Reply #5)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 12:06 PM

37. It would be so nice if writers bringing forth notions like this just did a cursory reading

of the actual Constitution before cooking up such fantasies, no?


Too much work I guess.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 08:30 AM

6. The GOP has changed so much over the years. Today, they have no conscience and I think really do not

give a damn about the country or its future. They are in it for power, control and dollars. That's about it IMO. And they have a lot of really ignorant people that support them. I have really never seen the US so F'ed up in this respect.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 08:33 AM

7. "prisoner's dilemma"

It would benefit the Republicans as a whole, but the three who voted for a secret vote would be assumed to be anti-Trump and would be primaried out of office. Everyone will wait for someone else to be the sacrificial lamb.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #7)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 08:35 AM

8. Primaried? I'm not sure it wouldn't be fatal, with the armed crazies. Nt

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #7)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 09:13 AM

17. That only applies to the ones running for office again.

There are some who are not planning to do so.

However, I don't believe the secret ballot thing will work. Doesn't it only take 1/5 of the Senate to force it to be recorded by name?

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 08:40 AM

9. The other path is for 35 republicans not be "present" to vote and let the democrats be

... the 2/3rds majority that is "present"

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Response to uponit7771 (Reply #9)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 08:47 AM

11. technically, yes, but not sure that lets them escape republican primary wrath....

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 08:46 AM

10. this presumes every democrat would go for it

seems plausible, but not guaranteed.
if the only goal is to remove donnie, then sure, democrats would support a secret ballot if it helps achieve that end.

but i can see one or two democrats thinking either:
(a) they want republicans on the record, or
(b) they want donnie in office during the campaign so they can campaign against him, because he's likely a political liability for many republicans.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 08:52 AM

12. Not sure I agree with the OP article

Assume for a moment that a small group of republicans vote in favour of a secret ballot. Those republicans would immediately come under scrutiny by their constituents if trump was ultimately impeached. There is no tangible benefit to them.

It’s a pipe dream in my opinion.

Oh and then there’s the constitution (see a previous post above) to follow as well... one fifth (likely all democrats) would immediately follow-up with the whole “ writin’ it in the book” thing and the further value of a secret ballot falls off the cliff.

I’m not sure of the sequence of events that would occur, but the result is likely the same. No benefit to republicans.

I predict, they will keep the vote public and use that to keep themselves all in lockstep support of the orange fungus.

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Response to Layzeebeaver (Reply #12)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 10:42 AM

25. I think that's why the author suggested it would be the ones not up for re-election ...

who would break for a secret ballot.

I think the article is a lot of wishful thinking, but I suppose we can dream.

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Response to Pacifist Patriot (Reply #25)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 01:17 PM

39. Yup. That's about it.

To quote the famous pigeon, “I have dreams you know!”

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 09:06 AM

15. Hmmm. Lacking 3 retiring Repub senators, it could still happen

if McConnell himself decided he wanted a secret vote, arranging for another 3 not up for reelection to do it. And that could happen any time McConnell decided his own path to retaining and growing power was served by removing Trump. It's now considered possible that he could lose his majority, and even conceivably his own seat.

May be unlikely, but given the giant clusterfuck on the right, not impossible.

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Response to Hortensis (Reply #15)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 09:14 AM

18. twenty members can force the vote to be public, so this will never happen.

The Constitution provides that the vote on "any question" must be recorded in the "journal" (i.e., the Congressional Record) at the request of one-fifth of the members.

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Response to onenote (Reply #18)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 10:49 AM

27. Why? WE wouldn't require it. Republican senators would benefit.

After the purges and replacements of prior decades, those allowed to "serve" are not exactly principled people and have proved willing to betray almost everything to keep power, but Trump never was their leader, and his dysfunctions are threatening continuation of their power and privilege. Some insiders have already been saying that 20 or 30 Republican senators would vote to impeach if it was only secret. The ones up for reelection this time could always swear it wasn't them.

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Response to Hortensis (Reply #27)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 11:02 AM

31. First, Democrats won't support secrecy. Second, Republicans who want to protect Trump

will vote to make the vote public in order to keep their colleagues in line.

And those "insiders" are speculating. Given the risk that the vote would become public, I think that estimate is overstated.

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Response to onenote (Reply #31)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 12:13 PM

38. Of course we would! In a heartbeat. We allowed Nixon to resign

ahead of impeachment, we allowed Reagan to remain in office with a top Republican senator come out of retirement to babysit as his chief of staff. Both deals because, with many millions of people bitterly angry, they believed those were the best ways to protect our democracy, not to protect criminals.

And let's face it, just which massively corrupt, betraying Republican senator votes for what is hardly the biggest issue here; our democracy, our people's wellbeing, actually the entire planet's, are. The rest of their records provide all the information those who'd want to know needed to about them.

You may also vastly overestimate the interest in protecting Trump over their own elite positions. These are senators representing whole states, not congressmen from often very ideologically narrow districts who on average are back tending family businesses or whatever decades before their senators even consider retirement. Some would insist on protecting him for some reason or other; some who would need to because they're up for election would be allowed to make a show. Moscow Mitch would do what he does to make the numbers work.

This happy scenario of course is all based on McConnell's deciding he needed to remove Trump to keep power. So far he's been deciding his best course is to protect the jerk.

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Response to Hortensis (Reply #38)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 01:33 PM

40. There are 53 Republican Senators

While it is assumed that a vote of 51 Senators would be enough to keep the vote secret, that is not the case. Because it only takes a vote of 20 Senators to make the vote public. And the vote to decide whether the vote should be public or not will itself be a public vote There is no way that 34 Republican Senators publicly vote against making the impeachment vote public -- a vote that will enrage the pro-Trump base.

So, it ain't happening.

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Response to onenote (Reply #40)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 01:45 PM

42. Okay, there's validity to that certainly.

I don't think we'll be finding out.

But please remember by far most Repub senators are not up for reelection. That's huge. They literally have years to recoup themselves with the fraction of their electorate who might initially be angry with them, and boy don't they know how to. SOP. The RW mindfucking machine would train "the base" to balance balls on their noses if that'd elect Republicans.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 09:07 AM

16. Bookmarked

Thanks, Dennis!

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 09:16 AM

19. Most interesting.

Hey, a lot can happen between now and then.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 09:39 AM

20. Bitchy Mitchy is like Mrs. Baylock from The Omen

He'd kill or die before letting through anything that might harm his favorite toddler.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 09:44 AM

21. So the party that leaks wants to vote in private?

figures. nothing more important than self-preservation

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Response to bucolic_frolic (Reply #21)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 01:39 PM

41. No. The assumption of the article in the OP is that the Democrats want to make it a secret vote

and that all it will take is a few Republicans to support that effort. But the motion to keep the impeachment vote secret will have to be voted on publicly and per the US Constitution, all it takes to make the impeachment vote public is the support of 20 Senators. There are 53 republican senators and anyone who thinks that 34 of them would be willing to go on record as supporting a secret ballot is hopelessly naive.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 10:24 AM

22. Wishful thinking at best.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 10:28 AM

24. Interesting, but it would be very dangerous to remove a sitting president by secret ballot

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 10:43 AM

26. I wonder if Glover typed the last eight words with a straight face.

"...And if Trump were to leave office before the end of the year, there might even be enough time for Republicans to have a vibrant primary fight, resulting in a principled Republican as the nominee."

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 10:52 AM

28. Yeah, that would go over real well

With Americans on both sides. Not. Imagine a super-duper secret ballot and they still don’t convict...

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 10:58 AM

29. How About if Chief Justice Roberts Declares the Voting Secret?

He is presiding over the trial, may well have the authority to do that. I believe that jury votes to convict are generally secret, so there's ample precedent. Especially if McConnell goes along with it.

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Response to Bob Munck (Reply #29)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 11:05 AM

32. He has no such authority.

And under the Constitution, Senate votes on "any question" must be recorded if twenty Senators request it.

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Response to onenote (Reply #32)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 02:06 PM

43. Article I Section 5 Paragraph 3

3: Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.

It seems to me that the previous clause, "excepting such Parts ..." lets them override that requirement. Of course the question to override might lead to an infinite regression, but they'd only have to do a couple before the public loses track.

I've seen several people suggest that the Senate can make it a secret ballot if a majority of senators want to do so, people who strike me as being more knowledgable about it than I. I tend to stick to simple things like quantum thermodynamics and string theory.

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Response to Bob Munck (Reply #43)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 03:21 PM

44. The specific provision about recording votes overrides any more general authority to keep the

"proceedings" secret. Put it this way: if the Senate amended its general rules by a 51-49 vote to keep votes secret, it wouldn't override the Constitutional provision requiring votes to be recorded if one-fifth of the Senate so requests.

I've yet to see any of those folks who claim that the vote can be made "secret" even mention Article I, Section 5. The author of the article cited by the OP is a lobbyist and public relations person with no legal training or experience.

Finally, some have cited secret jury deliberations as a "precedent" -- however, under both Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, a judge, upon request of either party to the trial, MUST poll the jurors individually.

It is inconceivable that the Senate would agree to a procedure under which no one (including any of the Senators themselves) knew who had voted and how without a way of confirming the result. And if the way individual Senators vote is known to other Senators there is no way that information remains "secret", and that fact alone will serve as a deterrent to any Republican voting against Trump in the hopes that their vote won't be made public.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 11:00 AM

30. I think having them on record is important to taking back the Senate

Letting them vote in secret lets them off the hook with voters.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 11:12 AM

33. This thing of so many R senators would vote to convict if it was a secret ballot is complete Horse$h

it ...

You wouldn't be able to count the number of these assholes who voted to convict in a "secret ballot" if there even could be one on one hand.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 11:24 AM

34. Presently, I remain unconvinced.

If the GOP let's trump go down, they take their entire party down with him.

If they protect him, and he remains in office till the election, they at least have a chance to survive.


David Frum said it best imo:

“Maybe you do not care much about the future of the Republican Party. You should. Conservatives will always be with us. If conservatives become convinced that they can not win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. They will reject democracy.”

― David Frum, Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue Nov 12, 2019, 04:14 PM

45. If it were up to me,

I would gladly support a secret vote that eventually becomes public if it hastens the removal of Trump and stops the torture of children at the border. Let them cover their asses while he’s still a threat. I do not expect honor or patriotism among Republicans, only self-interest and self-preservation. Whatever will work, I am for.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Wed Nov 13, 2019, 12:29 AM

46. Be careful what you wish for (seriously)


There is nothing Senate Republicans would like more than to NOT have to vote ON THE RECORD if they vote to acquit Trump.

Do not give them the cover of anonymity.

They will not use it in the nation's interest.


MDN

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