Two red-state Democratic senators signaled on Saturday that they are undecided on whether to convict President Trump
and ultimately remove him from office.
The comments came after three days of opening arguments from House impeachment managers and as the president’s legal team started to lay out its case in a brief Saturday session.
Sen. Joe Manchin
(D-W.Va.) told reporters he takes his oath of impartiality “very seriously.” He noted that while he thought Democrats did a “good job,” he is eager to hear from Trump’s’ team and will “see where we go from there.”
“I’m as impartial as I can possibly be, as I’ve always been. I’m wide open on this, and we’ll see where the facts go,” Manchin said.
Sen. Doug Jones. (D-Ala.) said he believes House Democrats have made a “compelling case” but added that he wants to listen to the defense being mounted by Trump’s legal team.
“I’m hoping to hear the facts and the rebuttal from the president. So I think that’s only appropriate,” Jones said.
Manchin and Jones, who hail from deeply red states, are viewed by Republicans as two of the Democrats most likely to vote to acquit Trump.
GOP senators previously told The Hill
that they believe the vote to acquit Trump will be bipartisan. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) has been tight-lipped about her thinking but is also viewed as a potential swing vote.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if we got one or two Democrats. It looks to me over in the House, the Republicans seem to be solid and the Democrats seem to be divided,” McConnell said last year.
With 67 votes needed to convict Trump and remove him from office, GOP leaders have noted that his eventual acquittal is all but guaranteed. Even if all 47 Democrats voted to convict, they would need 20 Republicans to break ranks.
Jones, meanwhile, is viewed as the most vulnerable Democrat up for reelection next year as he tries to win a full term in Alabama, where Trump won in 2016 by nearly 28 points.
Jones won his Senate seat in a December 2017 special election, where he ran against GOP nominee Roy Moore, the former Alabama chief justice who faced multiple accusations of sexual misconduct involving teenage girls from when he was in his 30s.