Here are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump

Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphySenators weigh traveling amid coronavirus ahead of Memorial Day Congress eyes changes to small business pandemic aid Top Democrat to introduce bill to limit Trump's ability to fire IGs MORE (D-Conn.) caused a stir Friday when he said a “handful” of Senate Republican colleagues have privately told him they would consider voting to remove President TrumpDonald John TrumpJustice says it will recommend Trump veto FISA bill Fauci: Nominating conventions may be able to go on as planned Poll: Biden leads Trump by 11 points nationally MORE from office.

Murphy conceded “it’s a small list, on one hand,” but Democrats would consider it a major victory if they could tout a bipartisan vote in the Senate to remove Trump from office in an election year.

His remarks created buzz since no congressional Republicans have publicly said they would even consider taking such a step, and not one House GOP lawmaker voted for the resolution establishing the rules for the impeachment inquiry. But Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashThe Hill's Campaign Report: DOJ, intel to be major issues in 2020 Amash decides against Libertarian campaign for president The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - In reversal, Trump says he won't disband coronavirus task force MORE (Mich.), an independent who left the Republican Party in July, said Friday he would vote for articles of impeachment. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Senate insiders and outside political observers say there are only three GOP senators who might vote to convict Trump on any articles of impeachment.

Here they are, along with a handful of others who could entertain the idea but are almost certain to vote to acquit.


Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Former NIC Director Greg Treverton rips US response; WHO warns of 'immediate second peak' if countries reopen too quickly The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Cuomo rings the first opening bell since March The Democrats' out-party advantage in 2020 MORE (Maine)
 

Collins has carefully avoided commenting on evidence that has emerged from the House impeachment inquiry even though she has been one of the president’s most vocal Republican critics in the Senate, breaking with Trump on several high-profile votes.

While Collins has declined to say how she might vote on articles of impeachment, citing her likely role as a juror who will need to weigh the evidence impartially, she has followed the House proceedings more closely than many of her Senate GOP colleagues.

“I’m definitely reading materials. I’ve started reviewing the transcripts. My staff is doing summaries of some of the witnesses. I’ve asked them to compile each day the major moments in the hearings in the House,” she told reporters last month. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Collins has the toughest decision of any of the Senate Republicans seen as potentially voting for articles of impeachment — she is up for reelection in a state won by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNew FBI document confirms the Trump campaign was investigated without justification California 25 and COVID-19 The Memo: Trump tweets cross into new territory MORE in 2016.

She will also have to consider her long-established brand as an independent-minded moderate, which surely will come under attack from Democrats if she votes to acquit.

But if Collins votes to convict, she could face a primary challenge next year from former Maine Gov. Paul LePage or one of his GOP allies.

“The one worry that she has would be the primary. Paul LePage has returned to Maine to make it known that even he would run against her if she didn’t toe the line, which would mean support for Donald Trump,” said Janet Martin, a government professor at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.

Adding to the pressure is one of Collins’s mentors, former Maine Sen. William Cohen (R), who helped seal President Nixon’s fate in 1974 when he voted for two articles of impeachment as a House Judiciary Committee member.

Cohen told The Associated Press last month that Trump committed something “tantamount to a criminal act” by threatening to withhold money for Ukraine unless it pledged to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenProsecutor investigating whether Tara Reade gave false testimony as expert witness Poll: Biden leads Trump by 11 points nationally George Floyd's sister says Minneapolis officers should be charged with murder MORE. 

“To me it’s an impeachable act,” he said.


Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyThe Hill's Campaign Report: GOP beset by convention drama Loeffler runs ad tying Doug Collins to Pelosi, Sanders, Biden Trump, GOP go all-in on anti-China strategy MORE (Utah)
 

Romney has emerged as one of Trump’s toughest Republican critics in Congress since taking office in January. 

He has called Trump’s prodding of Ukrainian officials to investigate Biden “troubling in the extreme.” When the president also called on China to investigate Biden, Romney blasted the move as “wrong and appalling.” 

Romney, 72, is seen as having the most freedom to vote to convict, as he made his concerns about the president’s character known during the 2016 primary, when he excoriated Trump as “a phony” and “a fraud” in a last ditch effort to deprive him of the nomination.

Romney’s career as a former governor and GOP presidential nominee, in addition to his fortune amassed in the private sector, affords him greater independence than most lawmakers.

ADVERTISEMENT

A Republican source familiar with Romney’s thinking told The Hill in October that the Utah senator is “more concerned about his legacy in terms of his family, his faith, his country and his party” than about whether he is popular with fellow Senate Republicans. 

Vin Weber, who served as an adviser to Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, says Romney will follow his conscience and vote how he thinks is best for the country. 

“I’m sure he’s deeply troubled by Trump’s actions because he’s a person of pristine integrity and high intellect,” Weber said. 

He added that Romney will also carefully weigh the national implications of voting to remove a president from office for the first time in American history. 

“My guess is that Sen. Romney, although he’s going to be really troubled by this, is going to come to the conclusion the country’s interests are not served by removing Donald Trump from office,” he said. 

But if Romney decides that’s what’s best for the country, he will vote without fear of political backlash, Weber said. “He’s a strong man and he’ll do what he thinks is the right thing.” 

ADVERTISEMENT

Tim Chambless, an associate professor of political science at the University of Utah, said Romney’s clashes with Trump have cost him some support, noting that an October poll showed Romney with a 46 percent approval rating and 51 percent disapproval rating in the state. 

But Romney, who isn’t up for reelection until 2024, has free rein to vote how he wants, Chambless said. 

Relations between Trump and Romney have remained strained. In October, the president slammed Romney as a “pompous ass.” Just last week, Romney shot down Trump’s suggestion that Ukraine, not Russia, meddled in the 2016 election.

Romney has declined to comment on the evidence against Trump produced by the House inquiry, saying says he will weigh all the facts once they are presented to the Senate before expressing his judgment.


Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiRepublicans push for help for renewable energy, fossil fuel industries The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Mnuchin: More COVID-19 congressional action ahead Senators weigh traveling amid coronavirus ahead of Memorial Day MORE (Alaska)
 

Murkowski has cast some of the biggest votes against Trump of any Senate Republican since the start of his presidency. 

ADVERTISEMENT

She voted against Trump’s effort to repeal ObamaCare and opposed the president’s embattled Supreme Court pick, Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughSpeculation swirls about next Supreme Court vacancy The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip Stakes high for Collins in coronavirus relief standoff MORE.

Murkowski isn’t up for reelection until 2022, and her base of political support in Alaska includes independents and Democrats who helped her win a write-in campaign in 2010 when she lost the GOP primary to a conservative challenger.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Murkowski criticized Trump for holding up U.S. aid to Ukraine, telling a reporter in October: “You don’t hold up foreign aid that we previously appropriated for a political initiative.” 

Like Collins and Romney, Murkowski has declined to comment on the developments of the House impeachment inquiry and says she will weigh the evidence when articles of impeachment are submitted to the Senate. 

“Alaskans are not paying much attention to the House impeachment drama,” she told The Hill last month.

“They’re seeing the headlines in their paper and know that it’s underway, but I’ve been checking in with my staff that are working the phone lines, not just here in D.C. but around the state. I check the mail traffic coming in and it is not something that is occupying the waking hours of Alaskans right now,” she added.


Other Senate Republicans

After Collins, Romney and Murkowski, there is a larger group of GOP senators who have publicly or privately expressed concern over Trump’s withholding of military aid to Ukraine and his attempt to persuade Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to conduct a corruption investigation.

The group includes GOP lawmakers such as Sens. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanOn The Money: McConnell: Talking about fifth coronavirus bill 'in next month or so' | Boosted unemployment benefits on the chopping block | Women suffering steeper job losses from COVID-19 Kudlow: 0-per-week boost to unemployment benefits won't 'survive the next round of talks' Congress headed toward unemployment showdown MORE (Ohio), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonMail ballot surge places Postal Service under spotlight House chair threatens subpoenas if Pompeo doesn't provide Biden docs he gave Senate GOP Senate confirms Ratcliffe to be Trump's spy chief MORE (Wis.), Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottJuan Williams: Justice Thomas seizes his moment in the Trump era The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden seeks to tamp down controversy over remarks about black support African American figures slam Biden on 'you ain't black' comments MORE (S.C.), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Former NIC Director Greg Treverton rips US response; WHO warns of 'immediate second peak' if countries reopen too quickly This week: Surveillance fight sets early test for House's proxy voting Overwhelming majority of publicly traded firms have not returned small-business loans: review MORE (Fla.), and Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderSenators weigh traveling amid coronavirus ahead of Memorial Day McConnell gives two vulnerable senators a boost with vote on outdoor recreation bill Five unanswered questions on COVID-19 and the 2020 election MORE (Tenn.), who is not seeking reelection.

But none of them are seen as being close to voting for any articles of impeachment, barring a major revelation of new information, say Senate GOP aides.

A senior Senate GOP aide said Collins, Romney and Murkowski are the only possible defectors “and the list ends there” unless dramatically new information emerges before a vote. 

“There is not a next tier, absent some new evidence,” said the aide. 

Other potential defectors on an impeachment vote are Republicans facing tough reelections such as Sens. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Cuomo rings the first opening bell since March The Democrats' out-party advantage in 2020 The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip MORE (Colo.), who is seeking another term in a state that voted for Clinton in 2016, and Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyBossie, Lewandowski warned Trump he was in trouble in 2020: report The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Cuomo rings the first opening bell since March House Democrats make initial ad buys in battleground states MORE (Ariz.), a top Democratic target.

Republican strategists argue that voting for articles of impeachment would hurt Gardner and McSally more than it would help them in 2020.

“Politically, it doesn’t benefit anybody because if you vote to impeach, the base abandons you and Democrats are never going to say, ‘Thank God you voted to impeach, you have my vote,’ and the moderates and independents don’t care about this,” said the Senate GOP aide. 

“For Gardner and McSally and [Sen. Thom] Tillis [N.C.] and [Sen. David] Perdue [Ga.] there is no net benefit to voting to convict on any of the charges because you will lose the loyalty of your base,” the aide said, referring to other Senate Republicans up for reelection.