Republicans were preparing Sunday for a battle over the future of their party after former President Donald Trump changed lawyers days before his impeachment, in an apparent sign that he will continue to maintain that there was fraud in the 2020 election.
Trump’s Senate trial is scheduled to begin on February 9, but the mogul surprised everyone by parting ways with his lawyers after the legal team reportedly refused to focus the defense on his unsubstantiated claims of fraud. in the elections he lost in November, instead of focusing on constitutional issues.
This trial for alleged “incitement to insurrection” in the framework of the invasion of the Capitol by his supporters, has exposed a gap between Trump loyalists who dominate the Republican Party and his moderate wing.
“The Senate trial … is going to ask all Republicans to take a clearer position,” Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson told ABC’s “This Week.”
“President Trump has helped build the party in the last four years, I hope he doesn’t help destroy the party in the next four years,” he said.
“We have to respect the people who supported Donald Trump … But at the same time, we do not want to overlook the terrible actions that happened on Capitol Hill,” he said.
Increasingly, Trump will avoid conviction because of his party’s support in the Senate, where all but five Republican lawmakers have already backed an attempt to dismiss the case on constitutional grounds.
But the trial is sure to draw battle lines over who controls the party after Trump’s defeat.
On January 6, Trump delivered an energetic speech in front of the White House urging his followers to march to the Capitol to protest during the legislative session aimed at certifying Joe Biden’s victory, which he considers fraudulent without evidence.
Protesters then violently stormed Capitol buildings in scenes that shocked the country and the world. The riots left five dead.
– Is Trump still in command? –
“The president’s comments that day were partly responsible for what happened, for the horrible violence,” Republican Sen. Rob Portman opined on CNN. “What he did was wrong and unforgivable,” he stressed.
“I’m a member of the jury. I’m going to keep an open mind as we go through this (trial). But I think this issue of constitutionality needs to be addressed. We would be convicting a private citizen, someone who is out of office. That sets a precedent. “, he alleged.
Adam Kinzinger, one of 10 Republicans in the House of Representatives who voted for impeachment earlier this month, said Sunday that Trump was “desperate that he still looks like he’s leading the party.”
“We have to stop being the party that defends even an iota of insurrection, a dead police officer and other dead Americans on Capitol Hill,” Kinzinger said on NBC.
While they say opposed to Trump’s trial, Republican senators are pushing efforts to censure him for his role in the riots.
But while a conviction would lead to a simple majority vote on whether Trump can be banned from holding public office in the future, a no-confidence resolution does not carry such a trigger.
Divisions in Republican ranks were further exposed in recent days by newly elected lawmaker Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has promoted conspiracy theories promoted by the far-right QAnon movement and endorsed Trump’s false claims of voter fraud.
Party leaders are under increasing pressure to crack down on the lawmaker, who in previous online posts has been in favor of executing Democrats and has claimed that tragic shootings in student centers in recent years were staged to undermine support for the rights to purchase, carry and use weapons.
But Taylor Greene has remained defiant, saying on her Twitter account Saturday that she had a “GREAT phone conversation” with Trump, while introducing herself as the party’s new champion of the Trump wing.
Trump, who left the White House and settled in Florida just before Biden’s inauguration, has said he wants to stay active in politics in some way.
bgs / ec / llu / lda