GOP senators label Trump's behavior 'shameful' but not impeachable

GOP senators label Trump's behavior 'shameful' but not impeachable
© Bonnie Cash
As Republicans senators explain how they will vote on whether to convict President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump nods at reputation as germaphobe during coronavirus briefing: 'I try to bail out as much as possible' after sneezes MORE and remove him from office, a familiar refrain is emerging: The president's behavior was wrong, but not impeachable. 
 
Republican senators have labeled Trump's request for Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to "look into" the Bidens and his delay of aid as "shameful," "inappropriate" and "improper." 
 
But no GOP senator of the 53-member caucus has, so far, said they will vote to convict him on the two House-passed articles of impeachment: Abuse of power and obstructing Congress. 
 
 
"It is clear from the July 25, 2019, phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky that the investigation into the Bidens’ activities requested by President Trump was improper and demonstrated very poor judgment," Collins said from the Senate floor Tuesday.
 
Collins, who is up for reelection in November, said she was voting to acquit because the House failed to "met its burden of showing that the president's conduct, however flawed, warrants the extreme step of immediate removal from office." 
 
Collins is part of a small group of Republican senators who have criticized Trump ahead of Wednesday's votes on the articles of impeachment. With 67 votes needed to convict, Trump is all but guaranteed to be acquitted. 
 
Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders takes incoming during intense SC debate Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Lawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response | Top official warns virus appears inevitable in US | Democrats block two Senate abortion bills Overnight Energy: Critics pile on Trump plan to roll back major environmental law | Pick for Interior No. 2 official confirmed | JPMorgan Chase to stop loans for fossil fuel drilling in the Arctic MORE (R-Alaska) and Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderLawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response Bill Barr is trying his best to be Trump's Roy Cohn The Trump administration's harmful and immoral attack on children MORE (R-Tenn.) were both viewed as potential swing votes on whether to allow new witnesses and documents as part of the trial. 
 
Murkowski announced Monday night that she would vote to acquit but called Trump's behavior "shameful and wrong." 
 
"His personal interests do not take precedence over those of this great nation.  ... Degrading the office, by actions or even name calling, weakens it for future presidents, and weakens our country," she said.
 
Alexander announced last week that he would vote to acquit Trump. He reiterated on Tuesday that "what I said is the way most people feel, which is the president did it, it was inappropriate for him to do it." 
 
One Republican senator is still viewed as a potential swing vote on convicting or acquitting Trump: Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyOrange County declaring local health emergency in response to coronavirus Why Bernie Sanders won the debate Lawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response MORE (Utah), who has emerged as a critic of the president. Three Democratic senators are viewed as potential swing votes: Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders takes incoming during intense SC debate Republicans root for Sanders nomination in battle for House Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Lawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response | Top official warns virus appears inevitable in US | Democrats block two Senate abortion bills MORE (W.Va.), Doug Jones (Ala.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.). 
 
It's not just swing votes who have been openly critical of Trump. 
 
Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way GOP senators offering bill to cement business provision in Trump tax law Mnuchin defends Treasury regulations on GOP tax law MORE (R-Ohio), who said last week that he would vote to acquit Trump, said delaying Ukraine aid or a White House meeting pending an investigation was "not appropriate." 
 
"I've consistently said that the president asking Ukraine for an investigation of Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden looks to shore up lead in S.C. Hillicon Valley: Dems cancel surveillance vote after pushback to amendments | Facebook to ban certain coronavirus ads | Lawmakers grill online ticketing execs | Hacker accessed facial recognition company's database Vulnerable Democrats brace for Sanders atop ticket MORE was inappropriate and wrong," Portman said Tuesday. "While I don't condone this behavior, these actions do not rise to the level of removing President Trump from office." 
  
Alexander Bolton contributed.