Juan Williams: Counting the votes to remove Trump

Here’s the bottom line: What will it take to get to 20?

That’s the number of Republican senators who would need to join with 47 Democrats to reach the 67 votes to convict and remove 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.

But first, what will it take to get to four?

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That’s the number of Republican senators who would need to join with the Democrats to get witnesses and documents introduced at Trump’s impeachment trial.

Four Republican votes is a low bar to avoid a sham trial. But Trump has defined membership in the GOP as a matter of loyalty to him above all.

At the moment, that means a Republican has to be blind to all evidence that Trump broke the law.

The Government Accountability Office confirmed that Trump did break the law when he used U.S. foreign aid to try to pressure Ukraine’s new president into announcing an investigation into a potential Trump political rival, former Vice President 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.

But Trump continues to say his call with the Ukrainian president was “perfect,” and claims that impeachment is a “hoax.”

So what will it take for Senate Republicans to have the scales fall from their eyes? What will it take for them to consider that the president deserves impeachment and removal?

Let’s begin with the voters.

Last week a majority of voters, 51 percent, said they approve of the House impeaching Trump, according to a Quinnipiac University poll. As of Saturday, the RealClearPolitics average of polls had 46.9 percent support for the Senate removing Trump from office.

Four Republican senators already seem concerned that they will be seen as allowing a sham trial for Trump: Sens. 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), 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 (Alaska), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe 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 Democrats block two Senate abortion bills MORE (Maine) 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 (Tenn.).

A Morning Consult/Politico poll taken this month found that 57 percent of registered voters — 71 percent of Democrats, 56 percent of independents and 40 percent of Republicans — say the GOP-controlled Senate should allow witnesses to testify at the impeachment trial.

Murkowski told an Alaska TV station last month she was “disturbed” by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight 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 Push for national popular vote movement gets boost from conservatives To avoid November catastrophe, Democrats have to KO Sanders MORE’s (R-Ky.) pledge to coordinate the Senate impeachment trial with the president’s lawyers.

“For me to prejudge and say ‘There's nothing there,’ or on the other hand, ‘He should be impeached yesterday,’ that's wrong, in my view, that's wrong,” she added.

Sixty-six percent of registered voters want to see former National Security Advisor John BoltonJohn BoltonOvernight 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 Bolton's lost leverage Azar downplays chance Trump will appoint coronavirus czar MORE testify, according to a January poll by Quinnipiac University.

So, let’s count the four senators who are open to witnesses as perhaps also being open to Trump’s removal, if the testimony is damaging.

Then there are Republicans trying to win reelection in states where Trump is not popular.

Maine’s Collins fits into that category as does Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerThe Hill's Morning Report - Can Sanders be stopped? GOP casts Sanders as 2020 boogeyman Where do we go from here? Conservation can show the way MORE (R-Colo.).

In addition to those five Republicans, there are three GOP senators running in swing states where they have to worry about being labeled as Trump acolytes if an anti-Trump backlash stirs up a big turnout of Democrats in November.

Those three are Sens. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstTrump creates new headaches for GOP with top intelligence pick Senate Majority PAC launches first statewide TV ad for Democrat running against Ernst Overnight Health Care: Ernst endorses bipartisan bill to lower drug prices | US partnering with drugmakers on coronavirus vaccine | UN chief says virus poses 'enormous' risks MORE (Iowa), Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyLoeffler releases new ad targeting Sanders's 'socialism' GOP casts Sanders as 2020 boogeyman Overnight Health Care: Officials confirm 34 total coronavirus cases in US | ObamaCare favorability hits highest level in poll | McSally unveils bill to lower drug prices amid tough campaign MORE (Ariz.) and Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisThe Hill's Campaign Report: What to watch for in Nevada Top GOP super PAC spent money on NC Democrat The Hill's Campaign Report: Warren up, Bloomberg down after brutal debate MORE (N.C.).

Now add three more Republican senators who are about to retire. They are less vulnerable to intimidation by Trump since they are leaving the political stage.

Alexander — whom I’ve already counted — leads this group, which also includes Sens. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrCongress eyes killing controversial surveillance program John Ratcliffe back under consideration by Trump for top intel job The Hill's Morning Report - Can Sanders be stopped? MORE (N.C.), Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziThe Hill's Morning Report - Can Sanders be stopped? Lawmakers trade insults over Trump budget cuts Republicans scramble to avoid Medicare land mine MORE (Wyo.) and Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsRepublicans give Barr vote of confidence On the Trail: Senate GOP hopefuls tie themselves to Trump Kobach says he discussed his Senate bid with Trump MORE (Kan.).

That makes 11 possible votes to convict, taking us more than halfway to the 20 GOP votes necessary to remove Trump.

Now there is another element to consider — the political grudge.

There are way more than nine GOP senators who have been insulted, berated, demeaned and threatened by Trump since he ran for president.

Here’s a good example: Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulCongress eyes killing controversial surveillance program Trump creates new headaches for GOP with top intelligence pick Congress set for clash over surveillance reforms MORE (R-Ky.), the loudest advocate for a restrained U.S. foreign policy and a recent critic of Trump’s action against Iran.

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Trump once tweeted: “Truly weird Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky reminds me of a spoiled brat without a properly functioning brain.”

Then there’s Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSteyer calls for Senate term limits to pass gun control legislation Cruz targets California governor over housing 'prescriptions' This week: House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime MORE (R-Texas).

Trump famously suggested Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of President Kennedy. He also insulted the senator’s wife and threatened to “spill the beans” about her.

By the way, there is no love lost between Trump and Murkowski.

After the Alaskan voted against the GOP’s ObamaCare repeal bill, Trump tweeted that she “really let the Republicans, and our country, down yesterday. Too bad.”

I’m reminded of a Wall Street Journal piece from last year about Trump defenders who ended up being damaged by covering up for his wrongdoing — men such as National Enquirer publisher David Pecker and lawyer Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenFree Roger Stone Trump calls the Russia investigation 'bulls---' CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group MORE.

“They pledged fealty to Mr. Trump and dedicated themselves to shielding him,” the Journal wrote. “For a while, they became wealthier and more powerful through their association with him. But Mr. Trump ultimately offered little back in protection or respect.” 

The 20 votes may be there.

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.