Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told reporters on Monday that the Senate Republican caucus doesn’t have the votes to dismiss the articles of impeachment against President Trump, who endorsed an “outright dismissal” over the weekend.
“I think our members generally are not interested in a motion to dismiss. … Certainly there aren’t 51 votes for a motion to dismiss,” Blunt, the No. 4 Senate Republican, told reporters after a closed-door leadership meeting.
Republicans have warned for months that they will not dismiss the two articles of impeachment against Trump, predicting a trial will end with votes on either acquitting or convicting him.
But Trump revived talk of trying to dismiss the articles over the weekend, saying the Senate was “giving credence” to the allegations against him by having a trial.
“Many believe that by the Senate giving credence to a trial based on the no evidence, no crime, read the transcripts, ‘no pressure’ Impeachment Hoax, rather than an outright dismissal, it gives the partisan Democrat Witch Hunt credibility that it otherwise does not have. I agree!” Trump tweeted on Sunday.
Dismissing the articles of impeachment would require 51 votes. Because no Democrats would support the effort, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) could afford to lose only two GOP senators and still successfully dismiss the articles.
Multiple Republicans, including Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Rob Portman (Ohio), have indicated they would oppose a motion to dismiss, arguing that both Trump’s legal team and House impeachment managers should be able to make their case.
The resolution on the Clinton impeachment trial rules in the 1990s had a motion to dismiss built into it. The motion, made after opening arguments and questions from senators, was ultimately unsuccessful.
Republicans are still crafting the rules resolution for the Trump trial, but some GOP senators have suggested they will not include a specific motion to dismiss in the resolution. That would not, according to aides and senators, prevent a senator from trying to make a motion to dismiss during the trial.
“If 51 senators wanted to have that vote, we could have it at some point. I don’t believe it’s going to be baked into the underlying resolution,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), an adviser to McConnell, told The Hill.